Trafficking and Poverty
Read: 1 Kings 17: 1-16
Elijah Fed by Ravens
2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what theLord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Poverty is a major driver of the human trafficking industry. Those trapped in poverty are keen to obtain a better life for themselves and their families, and these vulnerable people are preyed on by unscrupulous people offering jobs, training, opportunities, remuneration and better life prospects.
There are a number of main ways that people initially become trafficked:
- Many women and children are kidnapped into slavery, some children are sold to traders by their parents,
- Some children are willingly sent with a trader by their parents, who have been promised that their children will receive a good education, an apprenticeship or a good job and good prospects or even just adequate food. Traders can often be well known locals or relatives, so the parents trust them.
- Some women are married, only to find that their marriage is a sham, and that their new husband has sold them into the sex industry.
- Some respond to job advertisements offering good pay for manual labour, only to find that they are imprisoned on arrival, subjected to vastly different employment contracts to what they had been led to believe, with no escape, and may be made to work for many years labouring for no pay at all;
- Many women apply to sham foreign job agencies or to study overseas, and go abroad willingly thinking they will receive education or have employment as a waitress or a nanny etc, only to find when they reach their destination that the reality is very different, and that they are imprisoned, raped and forced into the prostitution industry. (Excerpt from the Freedom Project http://www.thefreedomproject.org)
- What can we learn from Elijah as he trusted God to provide for him and others?
- What do we learn from the readings about God’s ability to be our sole provider?
- In what creative ways did God provide for Elijah and the widow? How has He creatively provided for us?
- Reflect on ways in which poverty can trap an individual as a victim of human trafficking. Where you aware of all the number of ways in which an individual can become a victim?
Consider this Christmas purchasing some jewelry from JewelGirls, a program by Fair Girls. Former trafficked victims from our community come together each week to create unique jewelry while gaining access to therapy, new life skills, financial management skills, and pathways toward a future free of poverty and violence. 50% of proceeds go directly to the individual girl artist while the remaining 50% goes toward purchasing new supplies and materials to sustain her program. Visit the FAIR Girls JewelGirls Shop to purchase jewelry handcrafted by JewelGirls.
Pray each day for the ability to trust God like Elijah in being our sole provider for all our needs.
Pray God will show us ways in which we can be His hands and feet in the fight against poverty.
Pray God will reveal creative ways in which we can contribute to the work He is doing to restore the lives of trafficked victims today.