EDITOR’S NOTE: “Justice looks like …” is a special series in the Voices column. Readers will have the opportunity to consider justice from numerous viewpoints. The series is based on each writer’s understanding of Scripture and relationship with Jesus Christ. Writers present their own views independent of any institution, unless otherwise noted in their bios.
You are encouraged to listen to each writer without prejudgment. Then, engage in conversation with others around you about what justice looks like to you.
Sadly, sometimes it is easier to contemplate what justice doesn’t look like versus what it does.
As director of an organization fighting to combat human trafficking, there unfortunately are many occasions when we fail to see justice prevail.
• When a young teenager takes her own life, because she no longer could bear to live with the atrocities she experienced.
• When we have difficulty getting into some schools or churches, because those in charge don’t want such a difficult topic discussed from their podiums.
• When a person takes advantage of another because of their lack of knowledge, education or perhaps impoverished situation.
• When an individual chooses the lifestyle of “selling” an individual multiple times a day for their own profit and greed and, more often than not, is never held accountable.
• When companies knowingly use force, fraud or coercion to traffic individuals for their labor needs.
Every individual at risk of being trafficked deserves the opportunity to have the knowledge, awareness and education to help prevent him or her from becoming victimized.
Pervasiveness of human trafficking
Our organization combats trafficking—both labor and sex—throughout the state of Texas, and sadly, all these are instances that occur throughout Texas, in multiple towns, cities and communities on a regular basis.
Regardless of where you live, human trafficking is present, and it’s real. Texas consistently ranks among the top states in the country for trafficking.
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Recent studies show, in the state of Texas, there are an estimated 313,000 victims of human trafficking, 234,000 victims of labor trafficking, 79,000 of which are children and youth. From the smallest of cities to the largest of towns, no one is immune.
Maybe some are runaways. It shouldn’t matter.
Maybe some are members of the LGBTQ+ community. It shouldn’t matter.
Maybe some are white, Black, Hispanic or a member of another race. It shouldn’t matter.
Maybe some are impoverished. It shouldn’t matter.
When people are treated unfairly by others, we must join in a fight for justice on their behalf. If we do all we can to eradicate both sex and labor trafficking and stop the suffering of anyone enmeshed in this horrific industry, then we can say justice has occurred.
What justice means
Justice means we have to have stricter laws. Justice means we have people getting involved with legislation and helping change the laws to hold individuals accountable for their actions and treatment of others.
Justice means we go after those buying the sex and the companies using force, fraud or coercion to traffic individuals for labor, and hold them accountable with stringent penalties.
Justice means we care for all people, regardless of their income level, race, sexual preference, home situations or any other factors.
Justice means we put our heart and soul into fighting for the good of everyone. God hears the cry of the oppressed, and he certainly wants the wrongs made right. We, as Christians, must engage with one another and love and fight for all.
I had a wise pastor who once said the overriding principle of the Bible is “God is love; love one another.”
If we as Christians can live out this edict, justice will prevail for all.
Cynthia Aulds is the director of the Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking in Texas. Before that, she was missions minister at Sugar Land Baptist Church. The views expressed are those solely of the author.
Click here to read the full “Justice looks like…” series.