When we talk about restoring a victim of trafficking considerations must include if they have something to be restored to. Do they have anywhere or anything to which they want to return? (as in the definition above by the American Heritage Dictionary: “an original or normal condition; placed in a former position or location”) Perhaps that 26-year-old barely remembers her early childhood because of the trauma induced by violence or abuse. Maybe they don’t ever remember being safe, loved, or cared for. What if there isn’t a family looking for them, or anyone who cares if they are alive or not? What if this child has run multiple times from the home they are returned to because the abuse isn’t known or recognized…and the child votes with their feet?
If this is the case, as it often may be, speaking about restoration to them will ring hollow. The last thing they want is to be placed in a former position or location.
Instead our goal for transition homes must be to become a place of true redemption for the survivor. A place where they are brought back from the horror of trafficking, and given ownership again of their body, soul and spirit. A place where they find freedom from shame and abuse because they are now in a secured environment that allows them a safe place to learn who they are, and to become that person at their own pace. A place where they are given gifts of peace, self worth, recognition, and value as a child of God.
In this month of Easter remembrance Christians are very familiar with the price that was paid to buy us back from the authority of satan. The devil rightfully held a claim against us when our rights were forfeited to him through man’s disobedience to God. There was a debt of sin that had to be paid to bring us each into right standing again with a perfect God. And God was willing to let His only Son be born as a man on this earth, in order to become the sacrificial lamb to give His life for ours to redeem us back to our Father. I love that John 3:16 doesn’t say that God sent His Son, but that God gave His Son. His was the most precious gift He had, and He gave it freely for each of us to know Him.
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”
(1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT)
What a gift it is to a survivor of trafficking when they are offered not only a safe bed, provision, and protection that will restore them, but also the gift of redemption to know that they no longer belong to that former identity, but are free to become whomever a loving God designed them to be. They have been bought back (redeemed) from destruction and death.
“Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
(1 Peter 1:23b NLT)
We are grateful that Jesus paid the price for each one of us to give us new life as His free gift. Let’s freely share the Gift with others.
Pastor Jo Lembo, Director of Faith Initiatives, Shared Hope International