Every Child
1/30/15 at 06:32 PM 1 Comments

Child Slavery—How Can We Not Act?

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Human trafficking of any kind is a tremendous blight on God’s world, but the existence of child slavery is particularly incomprehensible for many of us. How can anyone deliberately do such damage to a child for profit? As Christians, we must not merely ask how this can be, but we must act to prevent, protect, and restore. That is what we at Bethany believe we must do for those young lives that do—or could—fall victim to this global abomination.

Ten-year-old Nicole* and her family in Ghana believed a relative’s friend when she said she could give their daughter a better life and education in the states. Instead, she forced Nicole into years of slavery in plain sight of neighbors and customers at the salons where she worked seven days a week to make money for this woman and her husband. Eventually Nicole was rescued by police after an astute observer placed a call to the authorities. She was provided a foster care home through Bethany’s refugee program where she was given security and value as a human­ being—which every child deserves. Today, she is an adult, living productively on her own—no longer a victim of human trafficking—but a survivor.

In China, a 13-year-old girl was sold into the sex slave industry by her own father. Her destination? The United States. The criminals bent on forcing her and other girls into prostitution were caught in a van by U.S. border officials. Bethany was able to place this young girl with a loving foster family, and today Cayla has earned advanced degrees, is married, and is living life with a renewed hope and future.

In Haiti, we work not only with those children who have become victims of restavek but to prevent families from resorting to this practice of placing their children into domestic slavery. A large part of our effort, besides family-based care, has been raising awareness through the churches in Haiti, creating a cultural shift for how Haitian families perceives their children and their needs.

Child trafficking is truly a global problem. Some children are American, homeless teens who end up in the sex industry as a means of survival—and then are so threatened that they cannot escape. And like Nicole and Cayla, others are lured from their home countries for a “better life” or sold into slavery against their will. Some are trapped in a culture where children have traditionally been exploited more than they have been treasured.

Our desire and goal at Bethany is to not only help the victims of slavery, but to prevent slavery any way we can. That is why we care so much about creating awareness in places like Haiti and about providing family-based care here and around the world. Children need to be protected, nurtured, and cherished—every child deserves what only a family can provide. As human trafficking increases, though often hidden, we must be aware that those most vulnerable, children without a loving family, are in danger of suffering at the hands of those who would profit from their mistreatment. We, as believers, must ask . . .

How can we not act?

January was proclaimed as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month by President Obama in 2011. If you would like to learn more about how you can partner with Bethany to help victims of child labor please visit us he To learn more about family-based care and how you can help protect a child’s future, contact us here.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

Listen to Bethany's Every Child audio podcast. Bethany's leadership engages Christian artists and leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in discussing issues relevant to children and families. Learn more and hear about topics such as child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and sustainable, culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.

Bethany Christian Services is a leading nonprofit adoption and child welfare agency helping to heal and work with hurting families and find children the sustainable support and essential love they need.

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