As often observed on this blog, many of the world’s great evils are intertwined with orphan issues. One of the most gripping examples of this is the intersection between human trafficking and orphanhood. The cold, hard reality is that a child that lacks a provider and protector is the ideal target for traffickers. The vulnerability and need of an orphan makes them the perfect victim, from forced prostitution to slave labor.
There is some risk as we highlight this issue. Human trafficking is evil at its most appalling. It is incredibly emotionally charged. So it can sometimes drown out subtler—but just as important—issues related to orphans. It is possible that we could be so impacted by repeated stories of sexual slavery that we lose a sense of the sorrow at the orphan child who, although not enslaved, cries in the night with no one to comfort.
There is also the danger that, as with any cause, a focus on trafficking would become mostly about ourselves and our “passion for justice.” This is always a special danger when taking up a cause that—while tremendously compelling as an issue—rarely requires sacrifice of us on a daily basis. Sometimes, we may be tempted to take up such banners in part to “brand” ourselves as a partisan of a popular cause. The real work of justice is long, hard and mostly unheralded. If we find ourselves drawn to causes that are otherwise, we may be wise to question our motives. The challenges and joys of, for example, mentoring a foster youth, are far more significant than “liking” causes on Facebook or wearing justice-themed t-shirts.
But these are ultimately no reason to shy from addressing trafficking issues head on. Yes, it is only one facet of what it means to care for orphans. But when we take up the fight against the trafficking of orphans and other vulnerable children, we mirror the heart of the God who describes himself as the defender of the fatherless.
This month’s Alliance Church Orphan Ministry Webinar explored this topic, highlighting both the vicious evil of trafficking and how ordinary Christians and churches can be involved. Woodman Valley Chapel served as webinar host and Tom Davis as our expert presenter. You can access the audio and video of this webinar, along with all the others, on the Alliance website here. Or watch it below…