This is two of three great posts by my friend Patrick Hubbard. See the brief description below to read why I believe Patrick offers a unique voice to North American Christianity. In this post, Patrick explains how their vision of planting churches in impoverished areas is an important step towards ending slavery.
“The issue of human trafficking is something that has grabbed a hold of my heart over the past year. It is the greatest humanitarian tragedy in the modern world. According to the United Nations there are over 2.5 million people in forced labor, including the sex industry, at any given time. This slave trade affects 161 countries around the world. The average victim is between 18 and 24, but it is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. Women are the primary targets of trafficking averaging two out of every three people enslaved.
The global poor are especially vulnerable to human trafficking. Often they are tricked into captivity with promises of job opportunities. Frequently, they are sold into slavery to pay family debts or provide money to care for other family members. I have personally seen news reports of a case in Brazil where poor Paraguayan families gave their children to Brazilian traffickers believing they had European families who would adopt their children. In reality the traffickers took the children across the border into Argentina and put them to work in a brothel.
While sex trafficking, understandably gets most of the media attention, forced labor is also a real issue. We must acknowledge that many of the inexpensive goods we enjoy as American consumers are the direct result of slave labor. I recently met a Thai Christian who works for a major US clothing company. His job is to visit all of the factories manufacturing clothing for this particular company to ensure that they are treating their workers fairly. One practice he shared with me is that some factories in Asia will “hold” the passports of their immigrant workers, which effectively makes them slaves unable to leave the job for fear of arrest.
As Christians we can no longer turn a blind eye to this issue. This is not only a problem for the rest of the world. Many of the victims of human trafficking are brought into our country. Just read the news reports every year around the Super Bowl and you’ll see countless stories about women and children being smuggled into the host city to be exploited sexually. Even our own citizens often fall prey to this horrific practice; many, if not most of them, are children.
Advocacy is important. Sin and exploitation thrive in the dark. We need to shine the light on this issue and bring it to the world’s attention. A quick look at social media will reveal that many people are doing this and it’s good and necessary, but by itself this is a very shallow response. Surely slaying this kind of monster will require much more sacrifice than a few tweets and blog posts. What more can the church do in the face of so great an evil?”
 All statistics are taken from the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking report.
Patrick brings a unique perspective because of the ministry he serves in and leads: Living Bread Ministries. LBM is a movement dedicated to planting interdependent missional churches–more like missional communities–among the global poor and to equip them to take care of their communities. Their approach to church planting is unlike most typical North American global church planting organizations. Presently they have churches in the slums of northeast Brazil and are in the process of planting in the slums of Thailand. Check them out at www.livingbread.org and catch Patrick’s site at www.gpatrickhubbard.com
Watch their short five minute video here: https://vimeo.com/59156511