Let My People Go!
by Kathi Macias
“Let my people go” is a phrase usually associated with the Bible, specifically God’s call through Moses to the Egyptians who held the Hebrew people in bondage. But it is a phrase that I believe still emanates from the Throne of heaven today. And though the Hebrew people were eventually freed from their slavery in Egypt, millions of enslaved individuals around the world are still hoping against hope that they too will soon be set free.
The term “human trafficking” or “trafficking in persons” (TIP) often draws raised eyebrows and skeptical expressions—until statistics are laid out to show that approximately 27 million people are enslaved today, more than at any other time in human history. These millions are held for various purposes, including unpaid or grossly underpaid labor, forced military conscription (sometimes of boys less than ten years of age), sexual exploitation, or involuntary organ “donations.” The numbers of children held in bondage in all these areas is frighteningly high, with some of them as young as two or three years old.
Along with other ministries, the Salvation Army has made the rescue of those enslaved around the world one of their primary ministry goals, holding seminars and conferences to educate people and to garner support from various individuals and organizations. (See The Salvation Army for more specific information on work in this area.)
The United Nations describes TIP in this way:
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
In a nutshell, human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and the second largest criminal industry in existence, just ahead of the illegal arms industry, with the drug industry being the only one to edge it out.
Oh, I know. Most people naively believe that human trafficking happens only in places like Thailand or Cambodia, perhaps. I thought the same thing until I took the time to do my research. I found that human trafficking does occur in those faraway places, and at a tragic rate. But it also takes place right here in the United States daily, to such an extent that some states are instituting task forces to try and stop it. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot promised that their new task force “will take an aggressive stand against human traffickers, who have turned Texas into a hub for international and domestic forced labor and prostitution rings.”
One of the greatest myths about human trafficking is that it only involves adults. Millions of children around the world are crying out in pain and terror over the error of that statement. According to Wikepedia, trafficking in children may come about as an “exploitation of the parents’ extreme poverty. Parents may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income, or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. They may sell their children for labor, sex trafficking, or illegal adoptions.”
Can there be anything that grieves the Father’s heart more than the forced enslaving of people made in His own image—by others bearing that same divine imprint? I believe each time anyone becomes aware of such evil and cries out against it, that cry is spurred by the Father’s own pain. If ever the Church needed to be involved in helping to right a human wrong, it is now. Human trafficking must stop! And each of us who names the Name of Christ must ask the Father what He wants us to do to help make that happen.
In my case, that means writing and speaking about it—every chance I get. This includes blogs, letters, articles, and my fiction-based-on-real-life “Freedom Series” from New Hope Publishers: Deliver Me From Evil (Fall 2011); Special Delivery (March 2012); The Deliverer (Fall 2012). I have also spoken about the topic at conferences, as well as on TV and radio, and I will continue to do so whenever possible. Will you pray for my efforts, particularly the “Freedom Series” books, to be effective in reaching people and calling them to action? And will you also pray and ask God what you can do to answer His heart cry of “Let my people go”? Millions of enslaved human beings around the world are depending on us to respond.
Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com) is the award-winning author of nearly forty books, including the Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and Carol Award finalist, Red Ink; 2012 Book of the Year from booksandauthors.net, Unexpected Christmas Hero; and her newest release, The Moses Quilt. She is also a popular speaker at writers’ and women’s conferences and retreats. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.