Ira Gelb

Stopping Slavery In Your Community

Earlier this week, I read an article was about how Michigan is one of the heavy hitters in the US for sex slavery. For many, the article is disheartening, perhaps even shocking if they have not looked into this issue happening in their back yard.

The Injustice

Statistics are not absolute truth, but they can be helpful pointers to what is going on. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTRC), in 2016 there were 246 human trafficking cases reported. Since 2007, there have been 793 victims who were forced or coerced into the sex trade.

"The police will take care of it! Just pay your taxes and justice will be done." However, justice becomes injustice. For example, Michigan law allows police to have sex with prostitutes, who may have been forced to enter the sex trade in the first place, to investigate a sex ring. In Michigan, the police protect current and future victims by victimizing current victims. Hmmm.

Should Christians Get Involved?

"That is terrible! I feel so sorry that those things are happening. Sadly, there is nothing I can do." Claiming you can do nothing does not relieve responsibility to do something. Instead, we should ask, "What can I do?"

Concerning Christians, we should respond with prayerful actions. Why? For a simple answer, I could point to the good Samaritan. However, for more detail, we should consider Obadiah. 

The picture is that of a kingdom (Edom) that held an external religiosity loosely connected to the God of Jacob. While their neighbor, Israel, was getting sacked by foreigners. A verse to take note of is right in middle of God proclaiming His anger against Edom: 

"Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them." — Obadiah 10-11

God is telling Edom of His coming judgment. The judgment is against the "violence" against Jerusalem. What was the violence done? They "stood aloof." They came not to the rescue of their neighbor, and in this case, their brother nation. Doing nothing was violence.

Call it the Obadiah principle if you want, but the lesson is obvious. If the exploitation of people happens in your neighborhood,  and you do nothing, it is violence.

Forcing people into slavery is a culmination of sins. First, theft is being committed with the individual being the stolen "property." Second, coveting is a sin of slavery as one uses the existence of another to serve his desires. According to God's Law, kidnapping and enslaving individuals deserve the death penalty (Deuteronomy 24:7). Obviously, this practice is a problem.

The Work of Justice

Below are some guidelines for bringing about justice in your area.

First, you and others that you know should show your willingness to adopt at every Planned Parenthood, as well as in every neighborhood known to be in economically dire straights. Sex traders target the poor, especially if they are poor foreigners who have immigrated to the US. 

Second, familiarize yourself with the signs of a sex slave purchase or exchange. Should you witness one taking place, you can contact the police, or if you are a capable man, stop it immediately yourself.

Third, form committees of men who conceal carry. Let them join teams on specific shifts, as their schedule allows that will patrol the hot areas for exchanges and deals. If you think you would be willing to be one of those men, but do not have a permit for concealed carry, contact your state for CCW requirements and a directory of CPL instructors.

Fourth, churches should fund some of these men full-time if your area is known for frequent "deals." In actuality, this could be a mercy ministry that is executed by the deacons. If the church is too focused on funding picnics, buildings, Sunday school supplies, then limit your giving to that church and fund these men yourselves.

Here are at least four ways the Church can do something about the slavery in their backyard. No more excuses for not knowing what can be done. To use that excuse is a sign of moral and intellectual laziness since I came up with this list in under 10 minutes.

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." — Proverbs 11:24

"Besides, another principle is also to be remembered, that in negative precepts, as they are called, the opposite affirmation is also to be understood; else it would not be by any means consistent, that a person would satisfy God’s Law by merely abstaining from doing injury to others. Suppose, for example, that one of a cowardly disposition, and not daring to assail even a child, should not move a finger to injure his neighbors, would he, therefore, have discharged the duties of humanity as regards the Sixth Commandment? Nay, natural common sense demands more than that we should abstain from wrongdoing. And, not to say more on this point, it will plainly appear from the summary of the Second Table, that God not only forbids us to be murderers, but also prescribes that everyone should study faithfully to defend the life of his neighbor, and practically to declare that it is dear to him; for in that summary no mere negative phrase is used, but the words expressly set forth that our neighbors are to be loved. It is unquestionable, then, that of those whom God there commands to be loved, He here commends the lives to our care. There are, consequently, two parts in the Commandment,—first, that we should not vex, or oppress, or be at enmity with any; and, secondly, that we should not only live at peace with men, without exciting quarrels, but also should aid, as far as we can, the miserable who are unjustly oppressed, and should endeavor to resist the wicked, lest they should injure men as they list." — John Calvin, from his commentary on the Sixth Commandment.


Matthew Belleville

Matthew Belleville is a content writer and is serving the Kingdom in SouthEast Asia.