The sale and trade of people is a shameful part of our country’s history. It is also a part of our faith history as Joseph, one of our faith ancestors, was sold into slavery. The story of Joseph being sold by his brothers in Genesis 37 is shocking and somewhat removed from the way we view our reality today. It is hard to imagine persons being bought and sold in this day and age and even harder to imagine that it continues to happen in the U.S.
Yet it does happen and happens often enough that the U.S. government has defined human trafficking and criminalized it. The State Department defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transferring, harboring or receiving of persons by means of threat coercion, abduction, fraud, deceit, deception or abuse of power for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, violence, sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.
In other words, it is modern day slavery. Every day, on every continent, in every type of economy men, women and children are bought and sold in this underground form of trade.
To learn more about the facts of this human tragedy and what you can do follow these links:
- Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Human Trafficking Roundtable website
- For facts and biblical reflections on human trafficking, please see this Office of Immigration Issues informational sheet
- To see the most up-to date national statistics on human trafficking please view the State Department’s Report on Human Trafficking
- To see international statistics on human trafficking, please view the International Labour Office’s Report on Human Trafficking