A Matter of the Heart

“How does trafficking look different in India than it did in Cambodia?” I recently had the opportunity to pose this question to a front-liner who’s been working in the realm of human trafficking for quite a few years.

“Yeah, it does look different,” she told me. “It surprised me, actually.”

What I learned is that in Cambodia people mostly seem vulnerable to trafficking because of crisis—an illness, a financial disaster, etc. Basically it happens when a family is facing a choice of sending one child to work elsewhere, i.e. “selling” a member of the family, or the whole family starves. In the area of India she was familiar with this was not the case. It was usually not crisis that opened the door.

It was greed.

The desire for an i-pad, or an i-pod. The idea that if I go and work in Dubai I can get rich quick and then live comfortably the rest of my life. Often those trafficked are in their twenties. They are often taken in by promises of wealth, of a better life. Sometimes those trafficked are pulled into it themselves. Other times it is the desire of the family. Either way, once in you are trapped. The promises don’t usually deliver. Maybe your family gets that i-pad, but the price is far too high.

Hearing this, I was deeply moved by the part the heart plays in the world of slavery. At the bottom line, the broken heart condition of man is the perpetrator time after time. Our drive to accumulate, to be comfortable, our insatiable appetite for stuff, for prestige, our lack of contentment is killing us.

What is our part in coming against slavery? What is our response to the suffering we encounter in the world? One simple (or not so simple) thing that we can all do is foster a heart of contentment in ourselves. Whenever we feel the grip of materialism or greed in any form, we must reject it. We must choose to live differently. We must pray that change will start with us. Pray for contented hearts.

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