Our brothers and sisters are not commodities

A Christian Science perspective: How can we help stop human trafficking?

I am inspired by accounts of those dedicated to removing the scourge on society of labor and sex trafficking. The series on human trafficking by this newspaper shows that while the issue may seem far-removed, or paralyzing, there is hope to free our global brothers and sisters, and we each have a part to play to make a difference: “‘Human trafficking happens on your doorstep,’ says Wendy Adams, a trainer for Stop The Traffik, an organization in the UK that trains communities to spot signs of modern-day slavery. ‘Likewise, the answer lies on your doorstep,’ she said,” referring to the increase of victims being identified by police and the public alike (“From England’s pews, a quiet abolitionist finds his voice on slavery,” CSMonitor.com).

The article discusses how the partnering of religious groups and police is paying off to locate slaves, largely because of their awareness and prevention. Like many in the religious community, I, too, want to be engaged in this effort to help, and I find that my efforts are made possible through prayer and obeying the golden rule that Christ Jesus gave us: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

By treating others the way they wanted to be treated, with care and respect, Jesus emphasizes the inherent value of God’s children, who can never be bought or sold. Praying with these ideas has resulted in my being more attentive to the needs of others at my doorstep – even in small ways.

One day, I was able to offer comfort to a woman I didn’t know who was in an abusive relationship. She said she felt that something significant had brought us together and asked about my views of God. When I explained that God does not create or sanction the subjugation of one individual over another, she told me she was strengthened by the knowledge that under divine law no one is a commodity and that these spiritual truths could bring healing for her and her husband.

Another time, I heard the voice of a small child crying in the middle of a crowd. No one near me seemed to be responding to his cries. Approaching him, I realized he spoke only French. He was lost – separated from his parents – and was afraid. I was able to recall my long-forgotten French in order to communicate with him and locate his very grateful parents.

I see these as small efforts, but significant indications of the healing power of living the golden rule. I have learned that consistent prayers hone our awareness of God as infinite good; that tuning our hearts to divine Love causes us to hear the needs of others; and that we are divinely supported to help our global brothers and sisters. I see that because man is God’s image and likeness, we are naturally attuned to divine wisdom and love – able to be a watchful neighbor and even to be a wise consumer so as not to unknowingly support labor trafficking.

A lack of living the golden rule results in the neglect and cruelty that enslave men, women, and children. Motivated by this rule, our work to end human trafficking carries divine authority and effect. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, understood: “The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 224).

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