February 04, 2014

Free Indeed

By Brittany Tedesco

“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men,” the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7.

As Christians we understand his statement. We know that human life is immeasurably valuable.

But what about the many who don’t know this truth?

Do you think the girls selling their bodies in the dingy brothels of Cambodia, where the average income is $1 per day, know their value?

Do they know they’ve been knit together by the hand of God? Do they know they were made in His image? Do they know He paid their ransom with the blood of His Son?

No. Like the crowds Jesus observed when He walked on earth, they are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Such is the condition of all involved in the business of human trafficking—the victims and the victimizers.

You may have noticed. Trafficking has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years, as awareness of the issue has grown. Many Americans, thinking the problem was relegated mainly overseas, were shocked to learn how rampant the practice is within the states. January was deemed by the U.S. government as human trafficking awareness month.

But with all the campaigns and advocacy groups, sadly, “the trade in human beings is the world’s fastest growing criminal industry,” according to Corban Addison, corporate lawyer and author of A Walk Across the Sun, which is based on his research of the dark industry.

Industry. It becomes such an ugly word when the commodities being sold and used are human beings. But unlike a product that is used once and discarded, people can be used again and again in the sex or slave trafficking business.

“It is extraordinarily profitable,” continues Addison. “Sex trafficking generates $35.7 billion in annual profits. Add in slave labor and the total exceeds $91 billion.”

According to Polaris Project, an estimated 20.9 million people are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor worldwide. And it’s only becoming more widespread.

I can imagine some of the lies that fuel the monster problem. The lie that human beings are nothing more than the random product of evolution. The lie that some people are inherently more valuable than others. The lie that God doesn’t exist…or see what’s being done to His creation.

But He does see, and He won’t withhold His wrath forever. Oh the love and patience of the Lord, Who has allowed this world to continue on in evil so more people would have the chance to hear and accept the Truth.

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” (John 21:16)

This verse is the foundation of a ministry started by a Cambodian couple to the "sheep," harassed and helpless, within their country. Destroyed by decades of conflict—the Vietnam War, Pol Pot’s barbaric reign, a 20-year civil war—Cambodia remains one of the world’s poorest nations. Few income-generating options are available, so many women and girls are either pressured into the sex trade or enter it willingly.

Painfully aware of this tragedy, the Christian couple demonstrates to these souls just how valuable they really are. The Apostle Paul’s assertion that we “were bought at a price” becomes real to these girls after they’re literally bought at a price from their brothel owners. The ministry pays their ransoms.

And afterward, the girls are offered a place at the center where they’re taught to read, receive medical attention, and are trained in either sewing or cosmetology.

Most importantly, they learn the reason for their rescue. They learn about the ultimate ransom paid for their sins. They understand their value.

They become sheep with a Shepherd.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36

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