“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”– Romans 15:13
Hope. Such a precious commodity. Such a powerful resource. Such an incredibly necessary element of life.
When it comes to the issue of human trafficking, hope is often in short supply. When you glimpse such deep darkness, it can shake you to your core. But darkness never gets the last word. That is why Voices of Justice wants to consciously point readers to the Light. We want to point them to the very real expectation that, in partnership with God and each other, we will make a difference. We highlight what people can do, not what they can’t do. While we won’t shy away from giving readers a true picture of the horrors of modern-day slavery, we never want to leave anyone there. We always want to point them to action, advocacy…and hope.
Due to this focus, we are often asked if we are a “Christian publication.” The answer is yes…and no. The yes comes from the fact that our core team and most of our regular contributors are unashamed and devoted followers of Jesus. The yes is also due to the fact that we very much consider Voices of Justice a ministry birthed out of God’s own desire for restorative justice. No heart breaks more over the pain and trauma of those trapped in the nightmare of human trafficking than the heart of God. “It was for freedom He set us free” and we believe freedom is God’s desire and destiny for every man, woman, and child on the planet. He is our Source. He is our motivation. And most of all, He is our hope. Our faith and eternal hope in Jesus will always be at the very center of all we do.
However, having said that, the no comes from the fact that we welcome contributions from any organization or individual regardless of their faith affiliation, or lack of faith affiliation. If they are in alignment with our purpose and with our submission guidelines, we welcome contributions from all who sincerely desire to use their voice in the fight against human trafficking. While we will never ask any of our writers or contributors to “tone down” a Christian perspective in their articles, we also do not require an overtly Christian perspective for an article to be accepted for publication.
What we do require is the core belief that together we can make a difference, and a willingness to unite our voices to bring light and hope into the deepest places of darkness.
Matt Freidman has been fighting human trafficking for over 20 years now. I find his talks inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. In this TEDX talk, he discusses a young woman who asks us all a very difficult question.
Please take a few minutes (it is only 10 minutes long) to watch this video. And then go through our “What YOU Can Do” page for ideas, check out the Resources page – or create your own activities – and let’s all do something to end trafficking.
So you want to do something about human trafficking.
Maybe it was the article you read in the newspaper, or the documentary you watched last year. Maybe it was the survivor who bravely shared her story, or the statistics you read all over the Internet.
You’ve already agreed that selling and exploiting other people is not OK. But what are you going to do about it? Or, maybe a more accurate question may be, what can you do about it?
The answer: a whole lot more than you probably think.
It’s easy for the “average” person to believe that unless you have a degree in restorative counseling or a badge that says “Law Enforcement,” there aren’t many hands-on opportunities out there. Or maybe you’ve heard of some of the great opportunities to get involved, but feel your schedule is simply too packed to add just one more thing. It’s ok–we get it. We’ve all been there too.
Instead, may we suggest a different approach?
Rather than adding “fight human trafficking” onto your already piling-up to-do list, why not sit down with that list and ask yourself a few questions?
● Is there a way I can incorporate awareness in any of these places?
● How can I harness what I’m already doing to make a difference?
● Where do I see opportunities to bring someone along with me?
We understand the many needs already asking for your time. We really do. And we love watching what happens when ordinary, even busy, people learn to infuse what they’re already doing with the opportunity to make a larger impact.
In the past few years we’ve seen dozens of other “ordinary” people step up and do what they can, from yoga instructors to stay-at-home moms, and everything in-between. We have grandmothers who bake cookies for our after school program for at-risk youth, students who use their research papers to raise awareness, and Etsy artists who incorporate art therapy for survivors or donate a percentage of their proceeds to anti-trafficking work.
So what about you? What areas are you able to make a double impact? Maybe it’s becoming a mentor and taking at-risk girls along with you to the grocery store, or teaching them how to cook while making dinner. Maybe your business can become a way to raise awareness, or the time you spend with other moms at the neighborhood park.
Wherever you are, whatever you have to offer, we can guarantee this: it is needed.
Jenna Funkhouser currently serves on the Communications Team of Abolition Now, and anti-trafficking branch of Compassion Connect whose mission is uniting the Church to serve the sexually exploited and vulnerable. She is passionate about justice as an every-day action and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two cacti. To learn more about Abolition Now, check them out at www.abolitionnow.com.
There is a story I love in 2 Kings 4 of the Old Testament that speaks of the prophet’s widow and her encounter with Elisha. It bears a quick read:
2 Kings 4:1-7
1. A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
2. So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
3. Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few.
4. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
5. So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out.
6. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased.
7. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
There are so many life lessons in this one story. However, we really want to focus on the issue of slavery and the “Christ” response.
The first thing to note is that the widow went directly to Elisha because she recognized him as having a solution. Torah (Old Testament) prophets had quite a distinction that made them frightening even to evil or heathen kings. They walked in a power not quite known today under a much inferior covenant (ouch!). Today, we as followers of Christ are the solution to ending human trafficking and slavery even if we, and the world, do not know it yet. Let me repeat that: we are the solution to human trafficking and slavery. We carry inside of us the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The Holy Spirit that rested on the Torah prophets abides in us. Our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and without limitation. We are the ones limiting Him. Additionally He is the One who can completely heal and restore everything that has been lost. If you meditate on that, I think you should become increasingly excited.
Elisha’s response is the one we should have: “What shall I do for you?” Elisha did not back away, make up an excuse, or try to pretend he didn’t have time, money or solutions. No, he stopped for this woman (woman – think Old Testament); he spent time with her; he cared about her problem; and he was quite obviously determined to help her.
You might not think you are Elisha – although if you are a Christ follower, I would like to remind you that the power that is in you is stronger and more constant that the power that rested on Elisha – but you can do what he did even now. He stopped for the one*; he took all the time she needed to get what she needed; he waited until she had what she needed; he cared; he was determined to help her. These all sound like things anyone can do, even if we do not yet have faith that God will multiple oil.
Just like us today, the widow considered her situation impossible. She had nothing – or so she thought. Yet everyone has something, and her jar of oil was what saved her. You see, God does not use what we do not have to help us. He uses what we have, because this is often what he has supplied to us.
Elisha instructed the woman to borrow as many vessels as she could. I often wonder if she truly borrowed as many containers as she could find. The Bible doesn’t stipulate that she did – or didn’t – but it certainly is human nature not to. Nevertheless, she did borrow enough to pay her debt and live on what was left (that’s an entirely different lesson!).
Like this widow, if we will only begin to do what we have in our hand – to exercise what has been given to us – we would find that our talent would supernaturally increase and fill up those empty vessels. The only time we would stop would be if we chose to, since God’s supply is infinite.
So don’t despite the days of small beginnings. Don’t think you don’t have anything to give or to do. If you start to use your gift, you will begin to fill vessels and your talent will multiply. And who knows just how many children you can prevent from being slaves, and how many others you can set free?
*The concept of stopping for the one is largely inspired in my life by Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries who feeds over 10,000 orphans and yet stops for each individual who comes across her path and needs love.