Last autumn I traveled with mission co-workers and partners in Thailand to visit Hill Tribe persons working to gain such citizenship rights as healthcare and education. The experience showed me just one of the many ways the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is working to address human trafficking. Presbyterians in their own communities have established shelters, resource facilities and computer applications as well.
Human trafficking happens both here and there. In fact, there is no “here and there” for human trafficking. In 2016 the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) approved a policy titled “Human Trafficking and Human Rights: Children of God, Not for Sale.” That policy, passed by our General Assembly, reads:
The church stands against human trafficking and forced labor based upon its conviction that each person bears the image of God, or Imago Dei, and that work is both a necessity and a calling: “the laborer deserves to be paid” (1 Tim. 5:18). We may understand the image of God as the capacity for personal, covenantal relationship that gives all humans individual worth and responsibility to help redeem creation. The prophetic vision in Isaiah 65 presents a harmony of humanity within nature and without violence; Jesus’ message of the kingdom or reign of God calls into question every structure that excludes or dominates others. We do not deny the degree of complicity that all of us share in the market system, but insist that human beings should never be treated as commodities.
Our General Assembly has spoken. It’s now the church’s turn to take action. Contact the Human Trafficking Roundtable or the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations to discern your engagement and look for connections on how to get involved.
Ryan Smith, Presbyterian representative to the United Nations
Let us pray
God of all, may you help us seek a world where your image is recognized in all. May you help us work for the oppressed and challenge the systems that harm. May we do so with you and for you. Amen.