While the mainstream media has reported what they believe to be a tragedy—the brief separation of immigrant children and parents illegally in the U.S.—that's not the real story. The real story is what is happening to thousands of children, whether born here, naturalized or undocumented, who wind up in a form of slavery that should provoke moral outrage from all.
The United States is now a destination country and global slavery auction for thousands of men, women and children trafficked from all areas of the world, usually for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs, they are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.
How Does ICE Define Trafficking Versus Smuggling?
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),"Human trafficking and human smuggling are distinct criminal activities, and the terms are not interchangeable.
Human trafficking centers on exploitation and is generally defined as:
- Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
- Recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Human smuggling centers on transportation and is generally defined as:
- Importation of people into the United States involving deliberate evasion of immigration laws. This offense includes bringing illegal aliens into the country, as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of aliens already in the United States."
Slaves Here in America?
Human trafficking as well as human smuggling of children is taking place at our nation's borders, and much of the time, for one reason: sexual slavery. The average age of entry into America's sex trade is 12 to 14 years old. Forced into a life they never chose, and manipulated, abused and tortured, children are sold on the streets, on the internet and at truck stops every night. They didn't make bad choices; they are victims of child sex trafficking. They come from our neighborhoods, schools, churches and homes. Our national consciousness is starting to realize the evil of sex trafficking and becoming morally outraged by this depraved industry that is motivated by sexual pleasure or greed. Slavery is illegal in our day. However, in this realm, it still exists.
Human objectification is also presented in a daily barrage of sexual images fed to us through almost every medium.Our sociocultural context sexually objectifies these individuals and equates human worth with bodily appearance and sexuality, and minimizes the harm done to them through exploitation conducted for personal gratification. Objectification theory provides an important framework for understanding, researching and intervening to improve the lives of women, children and especially teens.
It is the duty of pastors to include biblically based education for their members and the public so they can address these issues, raise awareness and engage the complex factors that contribute to this atrocity. So, how does the Christian worldview apply to sex trafficking? How should we think about these issues in a distinctly biblical manner? Here are a few brief points for consideration:
- Sex trafficking is an offense to the sanctity of human life. All human beings are made in the image of God and are equally valuable. All people are viewed the same by God. It is an offense against God to force another human into slavery.
- Sex trafficking illustrates the sexual perversity of our fallen world. It illustrates how powerful sex is. Something created by God for good has been twisted into something deeply wicked. God gives this gift to married couples for His glory.
- Sex trafficking is a picture of human bondage. Whether it's materialism, ambition, greed, pride, bitterness or sexual sin, they are slave masters who couldn't care less about their victims.
- Sex trafficking reveals our need for repentance. As horrific evils, lust, selfishness and a desire to use others shows our guilt before a holy God. Because Jesus Christ came into this world as a slave and paid the sin debt we all carry, there is now forgiveness, hope and liberation from sin and adoption by a loving Father.
Christians should labor for the cause of justice. In whatever ways we can, we should support causes that are working to uncover and prosecute those who are driving the industry of sex slavery.
How can people who have stood by silently during the slaughter of more than 60 million pre-born children through abortion in America since Roe v. Wade compare a short time of child separation during an immigration process as something equivalent? As Shakespeare wisely wrote, "The lady doth protest too much."