Sunday, August 17, 2008

Human trafficking

Shortly, I must get back to fresh projects, but one last memory from Prague keeps surfacing. And I guess the three women presenters at this particular session in the theologian's conference - from Nagaland, South Africa and USA - will be relieved to know that their words still haunt me. All three are deeply involved in working against human trafficking. They gave faces and stories to the appalling reality that some 27 million slaves exist in the world - a large percentage of whom are women and children. The majority work in the sex industry, driven by two overarching reasons: economic need and childhood sexual abuse.

Two things hit hard. First, the appalling prevalence of such trafficking, especially in countries such as Nagaland. It was painful listening as Asha Miqlat talked about her work among those exploited and abused. But such human trafficking is found in most countries in the world, including the USA. And it's a vast number. Second, the way that many Christians have ignored the problem. Indeed, one speaker spoke about the 'complacency' of churches she knows.

Now, I know we can be overwhelmed by big problems and our bits of compassion can feel overstretched and almost useless. (I still keep my Zimbabwe $50 billion in front of me!) But heart-rending issues like this should not be hidden or forgotten! We were encouraged as seminary educators to encourage future leaders "to show us in places where they feel inadequate, intimidated, insecure, (and) to have confidence that God's Call means that God will show up too - and it will be God who does the work of transformation and redemption." Apparently there is a movie to be released shortly called "Call and Response" about this widespread slavery which may put this onto the wider media front. I know this is an issue that needs me to do more than a blog posting.

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