Child Trafficking and Biblical Justice
Ms. Shaleena Elza Finny
Childhood is of stuff dreams are made of. In our dreams, we float and fly, glide and dance, and nothing seems to be in the realm of the impossible. Everything is beautiful, innocent, and pure.
I dreamt of becoming a TVnews anchor and making it big on the small screen. On other days I dreamt of being a doctor with magic cures for the most incurable diseases. I also dreamt of becoming a police woman and a karate blackbelt. In a rare dream, I once saw myself as the headmistress of my school, giving a hard time to one of my teachers.
As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that quite contradictory to my childhood world of dreams and opportunities, exists a world of oppression and hopelessness, where children are unable to dream of the future because they are instead owned and mechanized for profit.
Across India, over 82 lakh children are daily forced to carry out labour that is far beyond their physical capacity. Trafficked into a variety of industries, children are forced to work for over 12 hours a day. Victims to neglect and abuse, they are prohibited from visiting their families, deprived of food and the sufficient care they require, and are preyed upon by physical and sexual tormentors.
As the young and vulnerable are exhausted and traumatized, the idea of work deviates from God’s original intention as an activity to joyfully nourish others and bring glory to God. As the sin of injustice corrupts the beautiful parts of God’s creation, an activity intended for communal good has become for some, a power struggle of hard labour for the profit of one individual.
However, amidst this brokenness in His original plan, God hears the cries of his people. He rescues and rectifies the inequities that foster these unjust relationships motivated by money and power, and restores provision to those who have been deprived.
Throughout scripture, God’s justice is displayed as a reordering of society. Those who are arrogant, wealthy, and exalted are humbled and cured of their attachments to prestige, power and wealth, while those who are excluded and downtrodden are affirmed, their value and honor recognized.
God’s attitude of justice is characterized by love, mercy, and grace, and the death of Jesus, a man free of sin, is a perfect representation of this. The weight of our sin, and God’s inability to condone sin, means that we should have been separated from God for eternity. But God so desired to renew his creation and bring back justice to a broken world, that he gave his innocent and beloved son to sacrificially bear the enormous weight of sin, and take the punishment for our sins, enabling a path of reconciliation with God and hope for the world.
Not all of us have the ability, the training or the high rank to make decisions or change laws so that they protect the poor. Sometimes, all we have is a voice to plead with. Though we ourselves might not have the power to make sweeping changes in our society, we have access to the most almighty ‘power actor’ of all: our Father in Heaven, who loves to listen to the cries of our hearts.
As humans made in God’s image, His likeness is mirrored in both our existence and behaviour. We are fully human inasmuch as we are justly sustaining and stewarding the beauty and goodness that God intended for and created in the world.
Our responsibility, therefore, as Christians, is to become aware of injustice, and plead with God on behalf of those who are oppressed. To steward His creation by asking that He, in his infinite power, would work in the hearts and minds of perpetrators and law enforcement officials. This pleading is incredibly powerful, because no one is greater than our God, who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).
By inventing the phenomenon of human prayer, God has decided to allow our asking to make a difference in the events of the world, and invites us to join his mission in securing justice for the oppressed. With this invitation, we can imagine the end of trafficking for labour, and dream of alleviating the profound hurting of God’s children.