JOHANNESBURG (BP) — “She is wonderful and beautiful, treasured and unique. She is heaven’s child, full of hopes and dreams, valued and esteemed. Set her free!”
These were the thoughts running through my head as I heard the story of a young human trafficking victim from South Africa. I was moved to tears as I read this girl’s story and watched a video clip of the work that is being done to help trafficking victims in Johannesburg at meetjoburg.com. My heart was stirred to write the song “Set Her Free.”
Human trafficking is the practice of deceiving someone or taking them against their will, then selling, buying and transporting them into slavery. According to stopthetraffick.org, it is second to drug trafficking as the largest crime in the world. It is hard to imagine that this type of slavery is taking place right in front of us and on such a large scale.
God began to remind me how much He loves all of us, and these girls who are victims of trafficking are no different. They are beautiful and loved by God.
As Romans 8:35-38 says, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us … and I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”
Those who are trafficked are not only God’s beloved children but were children that an earthly mother once tenderly cared for. I began to think of my own children and all of the hopes and dreams we, as mothers, have for them as we rock them.
My heart broke for these children, these young women who have been tricked, taken and sold. Their hearts are full of hopes and dreams, and God has a special purpose for their lives.
This particular Johannesburg girl’s dream was to become a social worker, but that dream was snatched away as she tried to survive another day as a sex slave and sought to escape the life that she had been tricked into and trapped in.
She had survived unimaginable acts of violence and then was forced back to work the next day. After unsuccessful attempts to run away, she had been severely beaten and left to die. This was not the life she chose for herself. She desperately longed for freedom and hope of leaving this life.
How can it be that this form of human slavery is taking place? What can we do to help stop it and bring healing to those who have been victims of human trafficking? This can seem overwhelming, but don’t be discouraged from getting involved if God has spoken to you.
We, as the church, can make a difference through Christ. I encourage you to ask God what you can do to get involved locally or globally. There is much needed: prayer, financial support of organizations such as the one in Johannesburg that are on the front lines, volunteers, medical care, counselors and much more.
“You can be the one who could stop to make the difference. You could set her free from her prison she’s been given. You can bring her hope in the nightmare she’s been living. Show her God’s love unconditionally given. Set her free.”
Anissa Haney is a singer and songwriter. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).