Traffic / ˈtrafik/ – Noun: to trade in something illegal. In “human trafficking” this is to treat humans as possessions and as subject to involuntary abduction, transport, or exploitation, or sale.
Human Trafficking. It’s almost unthinkable that it still exists, in the 21st century. Yet sadly, it does. Some would wrongheadedly argue that the Bible condones slavery. On closer examination of Christian teaching, a different answer emerges.
Bible Verses Against Trafficking
- And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. – Exodus 21:16
- If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you. – Deuteronomy 24:7
Best Scriptural Reference Against Profiting from Neighbor’s Enslavement
- And if thy brother [that dwelleth] by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant. – Leviticus 25:39
Best Bible Verses on Setting Slaves Free
- If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. – Exodus 21:1-4 & Deut. 15:12-18
- Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from [his/her] master unto thee. – Deut 23:15
- And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. – Luke 4:14-19
New Testament Reminder of Equality
- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28
- Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:11
Bottom Line for Christians
Jesus was very clear about what His reign means. He opened his public ministry by declaring the “year of the Lord’s favor,” or Jubilee, where debts were cleared and historic lands returned to original family lines, and those who had been sold into slavery would be set free.
We are called to remember the inherent dignity and equality of all, and thus we are not to enslave others nor to profit from their enslavement. We are not to return escaped slaves to their captors, but rather to agitate for the greater freedom of all our brothers and sisters, from whatever they may be suffering.
See also our other topical WebDefs.
What are WebDefs?
WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.