Ambassador of Reconciliation
When I read the book Unbroken, which documented the treatment of Allied POWs in Japanese prison camps during World War II, I thought it revealed the very depths of human depravity. But it may be that there are some who sink deeper still.
While visiting my daughter Joanna, we went to her church for a viewing of the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, which exposes the dark world of human trafficking. The odious practice of buying and selling human beings has been going on since ancient times and is burgeoning today, not just in Asia and Africa, but in developed countries, quite possibly in your own community. Inflicting unspeakable torment on prisoners of war is despicable enough, but kidnapping and violating children is incomprehensibly wretched. As described in the synopsis for Nefarious,
Victims are systematically stripped of their identity, battered into gruesome submission, and made to perform humiliating sexual acts on up to 40 strangers every night. Most are held in dingy apartments and brothels, forced to take heavy doses of illegal drugs, and monitored very closely. Victims are often thrown into such ghastly oppression at 13 years old. Some are abducted outright, while others are lured out of poverty, romantically seduced, or sold by their families.
As she thought of her own four little girls, Joey couldn’t bear the idea that other children were being taken from their families and exploited as sex slaves. She resolved to do something about it, and when the opportunity arose to go on a short-term mission trip to Thailand with others from her church and from around the country, she volunteered.
For a year the members of her team prayed and planned and prepared, and then they traveled halfway around the globe to do their part in fighting this monumental injustice. Though the members of a short-term mission team can’t make a dent in the estimated 20 million victims of human trafficking, they can make a difference in the lives of individual women and children by showing them the love of Jesus and letting them know that they are precious to Him. As the organization they worked with describes its mission,
We strive to reach every person with the love of God and rescue every child from human trafficking,… to transform each child from her past and give her an opportunity for a better future.
We may have thought that slavery ended with the Civil War, but millions of human beings are still trapped. It may seem that God has turned a deaf ear to their cries, but He never forgets a single soul. His heart is especially toward the weak and oppressed.
Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
(Ps. 10:1, 12, 17-18)
Through the efforts of the dozens of organizations working against human trafficking, many are being set free and restored to wholeness. But at present we see only a small foretaste of the full liberation that Jesus will bring about when He returns.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.