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Church called to fight for victims of slavery and trafficking

Posted on: January 12, 2016 10:43 AM
Photo Credit: Ira Gelb / Flickr
Related Categories: Alwan Masih, North India, slavery, trafficking

[ACNS] The Church should “re-commit and re-dedicate itself to do all for the freedom of those enslaved and trafficked, so that they may have life and have it more abundantly,” the general secretary of the Synod of the Church of North India has said.

Alwan Masih said that the church had discovered another victim of trafficking over Christmas. The victim was “a young girl of 12 years for whom life has become a burden unbearable.”

He said: “This girl had been lured by her 50-year-old uncle and brought to Delhi on the promise of a job. After she denied marrying this old uncle, she was sexually exploited and sold off to two people who again treated her the same way and confined her in a house illegally and kept her like a purchased slave.

“Where is the joy and love of God – who sent his only begotten son for the salvation of all of us – for this hapless young girl,” he asks.

Mr Masih said that news of the girl’s predicament came just after a month after the world marked the international day against human trafficking.

“The spread of the global pandemic of human trafficking is escalating day by day,” he said. “It is the third largest organised crime after drugs and arms trade across the globe. Close to 80 per cent of the human trafficking across the world is done for sexual exploitation and the rest is for bonded labour.

“The 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI) has recorded that there are nearly 36 million victims of human trafficking worldwide out of which nearly two-thirds, are from Asia and 14 million from India. 90 per cent of India’s human trafficking is internal, with lower castes and religious minorities the most vulnerable. And official complicity in such cases remains a serious concern.”

Mr Masih highlighted the role that religious and faith leaders have played in speaking out against modern slavery, including the joint declaration signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Pope Francis and other Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders “to inspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people of goodwill everywhere to eradicate human trafficking across the world by 2020 and for all time.

“A similar effort has also been done in India with the initiative of the Global Freedom Network to bring religious and spiritual leaders together to pledge to do all in their power to work together for freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked,” he said.

“We affirm that God in Jesus Christ is God of life and justice. God is continuously at work, liberating and restoring the sanctity and integrity of life. While underlining the purpose of his coming to this world, Jesus said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’

“Reading from a scroll he had declared, ‘The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

“The divine plan of salvation, which is present as a grand reconciliation of all in Christ, is the process of ethical transformation characterized by the availability of justice, freedom and dignity for all. This is the mission of God.

“The Church is called to participate in this mission. She is called to make present this promise and God’s reign through her forms and functions. She is called to be a moral community that upholds the righteousness of God. The Church therefore has to be an agent of transformation and a conscience keeper wherever will of God is countered by irresponsible assertion of human greed for wealth and power.

“We believes that, as co-workers in our Lord’s mission, to bring the promised life abundant to the whole humanity and to ensure release of the captives, the Church is called to re-commit and re-dedicate itself to do all for the freedom of those enslaved and trafficked, so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”