Sunday, August 9, 2020: Human Trafficking

August 9, 2020

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

When All Seems Lost

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

 

Human trafficking is a real, terrible and often invisible component of our daily life. The United Church of Christ is working to shine light on this hidden human rights crisis.

 

According to the UCC’s justice webpage, https://www.ucc.org/justice_womens-issues_human-trafficking, *“As of 2016, an estimated 24.9 million people were in modern slavery, not including the 15.4 million that were forced into marriage. Traffickers prey on those from vulnerable communities and force them into labor, and/or exploit them into commercial sexual enterprises. The influx of immigrants crossing the border into America are most susceptible to modern slavery, as traffickers use their vulnerability as immigrants as tools to manipulate and coerce.

 

Trafficking in persons is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Human trafficking denies the values of human life, exposes victims to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full God-given potential. As Christians, we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of the divine Creator, of God. The prophets cried out against the exploitation of the poor and of laborers who are not treated fairly and compensated justly (Job 24:1-12, for example).

 

The United Church of Christ has consistently upheld the rights and dignity of workers and of women and children, believing that God calls us into community with each other as sisters and brothers, not as exploiters and exploited. The violence done to the physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing of children and women who are forced into prostitution, the pornography industry, sex tourism and other forms of sexploitation are violations of the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves. The kin-dom of God among us requires us to provide protection for those most vulnerable and to seek conditions which support wholeness and health for everyone.”

 

In today’s reading from Genesis, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers and trafficked across national borders. For him, this was the first step on the road to a new life, but he needed a lot of helping hands to get him there. May we, as a denomination, as local congregations, and as individuals be that helping hand for those who need it.

 

*Accessed January 2020. https://www.ucc.org/justice_womens-issues_human-trafficking

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