What does the Bible say about Human trafficking?

by Saceia Armstrong

Posted on May 25, 2023, 3:53 pm Viewed 167 times.

Human Trafficking Victims – What does the Bible say?

While most of the world wasn't looking, human trafficking in sex and labor became a worldwide epidemic. An estimated 27 million men, women, and children are caught in trafficking situations. It's so common in some areas that it's become a part of the culture. But it is a culture God never


The Bible is clear that vulnerable people should be protected and cared for, endangered people should receive justice, and abuse of any kind is a sin. Trafficking victims (including child trafficking victims) suffer great injury from horrible abuses, but there is help- Jesus.

Lets look at some examples:


Gen 37: 18-28-  But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. (Joseph was a free man sold for twenty shekels of silver)

Freedom: because of Joseph being sold he was able to save the people from death.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are working together for good.

 Leviticus 19:29 “You are not to defile your daughter by engaging her in prostitution so the land won’t become filled with wickedness. 

Exodus 21:16Living Bible (TLB)

16 “A kidnapper must be killed, whether he is caught in possession of his victim or has already sold him as a slave.

Deuteronomy 24:7International Standard Version (ISV)

“If a man is found kidnapping his relative, a fellow Israeli, and mistreats or sells him, that kidnapper must die. By doing this, you will remove this evil from among you.

Jesus was a free man and Jesus was sold for 30 shekels of silver Matt: 26:15 when Judas Iscariot bargained with the leaders of Israel to betray the Lord Jesus, he asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” The murderous cabal then counted out for Judas “thirty pieces of silver” That’s all they considered Jesus to be worth. In Hebrew culture, thirty pieces of silver was not a lot of money. In fact, it was the exact price paid to the master of a slave if and when his slave was gored by an ox (Exodus 21:32) or accidentally died. The slave’s death was compensated by the thirty pieces of silver.

Kidnapping is evil (1 Timothy 1:8-10): Whether the bondage is physical or psychological (slavery of the mind), unjustly restraining another is wrong (1 Timothy 1:8-10)—and in the Old Testament, it was punishable by death (Deuteronomy 24:7).

God hates abuse (Isaiah 61:8): God's laws repeatedly tell us to treat others kindly and fairly.

God's business is freedom (Acts 12; Isaiah 61:1): It's hard to get more direct than God's promise in Ezekiel 34:16: "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment."

Caring for the poor is honoring Jesus (Jeremiah 22:16; Matthew 25:35-40): God has no great love for manmade social distinctions (James 2:1-5). He cares about our hearts, and our hearts should show love to those less fortunate, not enslave them.

Human Trafficking Victims and the Church

When Jesus ascended into heaven, God chose the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be His representative on earth. The church is specifically charged with showing love to others. Religion that God accepts is to look after the disadvantaged and to keep ourselves uninfluenced by the world's crooked values (James 1:27). To that end, God has uniquely gifted the church with the skills needed to help those caught in trafficking.

Community (Acts 2:42): People caught in or rescued from trafficking need to know what good, healthy community looks like. The communities victims came from were defined by abuse, rife with unhealthy escape mechanisms like drug use, and strongly segregated into those who control and those who must submit. The community of the church focuses on encouraging right relationships with God and others.

Family (1 Timothy 5:1-2): A great number of trafficking victims were abused as children, and many don't have healthy families to go home to. But God designed the church to be a family. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul gives Timothy a brief explanation of how church members should treat each other. Mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters, all living respectfully. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-31, he goes into further detail about how those family members interact. The church family can provide trafficking victims an environment where they are safe, where they belong, and where each individual has an integral role.

Truth (Romans 8:6-7): Victims initially caught in trafficking are quickly conditioned. They are taught that disobedience brings pain, the rule of their trafficker is absolute, and there is no better alternative in their lives. Trafficked victims who are caught in generational slavery have this ingrained in them since birth. Their place in the "family" is as servant, often sexually. This is their identity. In the church, however, recovering victims can learn the truth. That all, trafficker and victim, have sinned (Romans 3:23). That God loved them enough to sacrifice His Son (John 3:16). And that they can be free from the damage slavery has inflicted on their hearts (Galatians 5:1).

Significance (1 Samuel 16:7): Jesus scandalously loved those society dismissed. As His followers, the church is called to do the same. God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11), and we are to follow His example (James 2:1). Instead of the outward appearance, the church is trained to see each individual as an image of God—someone whom God loves.

Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-20): As victims grow in their recovery, they need to be able to interact in the world as it is, to find work and housing, and learn to prioritize their basic needs. But most of all, they need reconciliation with God. All the social reintegration in the world won't

save a soul. God wants their hearts. He wants them to be reconciled to Himself. And God has charged the church to teach what this means.



2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 8:36 (NIV) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5 :1(GNT) Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.

1 Cor 13: 1-14

Love in Action

The Bible tells us how we can help victims of trafficking in Isaiah 61:1-3:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,  to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy

instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.



We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.


What is your response?

If you have not received Freedom through Jesus, now is the time.

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.


Baptized with the evidence of tongues:

Acts 2:2-4English Standard Version (ESV)

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Trafficking victims (including child trafficking victims) suffer great injury from horrible abuses, but we can help. Find a local ministry online that needs practical help in leading victims to recovery. Or go global and serve with or fund an international organization. God's church is proclaiming

freedom for the captives; find out where and join them.

What to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked: If the situation is urgent, call 911.

If there is no immediate threat, call the non-emergency number, often 311.

Call your local anti-human trafficking hotline -713-322-8000.

Call the national hotline—1-888-3737-888.

(Hotlines will not necessarily be able to provide emergency assistance, but they will track activity to better aid the FBI and other law enforcement in determining where and how to act.)




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