Are there any Bible verses about human trafficking? What does the Bible say about human trafficking?

This post is the first in an ongoing series reflecting on the way the Bible can help shape the Church’s thinking and practice concerning trafficking so that together, and in God’s strength, we can seek to tackle this terrible phenomenon as part of our participation in God’s mission.

The first point I want to make is that exploitation is nothing new, though each generation finds its own unique ways of oppression the weak and vulnerable. Consider Psalm 10:

10 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgements are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
     under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Verses 8-9 are particularly striking, reflecting as they do the experience of so many caught up in slavery.

But what biblical texts do you think are important for building up a biblical theology of human trafficking?

(PS. If you’d like to think through these and wider issues why not check out jusTice, Redcliffe’s new justice, advocacy and reconciliation initiative. jusTice feeds into Redcliffe’s BA(Hons) Degree in Applied Theology in Intercultural Contexts, as well as a forthcoming MA in Justice, Advocacy & Reconciliation in Intercultural Contexts (currently in the process of validation through the University of Gloucestershire).)

One thought on “The Bible and human trafficking – part 1

  1. I would start with the Golden Rule. Beyond that, the OT instructions/laws on dealing with foriengers are instructive for cases where one group traffics people from another group. Finally, the book of Philemon.

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