Who Is God For Victims And Survivors Of Human Trafficking?
By Jeanne Christensen, RSM
As persons of faith, our prayer calls us to respond to the needs of the world and our response in ministry leads us back to God. We are called to integrate contemplation and action. Who is God for each of us?
Who is God for victims and survivors of human trafficking? How does their endurance of daily repeated physical, emotional, and sexual abuses shape their image of God? The trauma which trafficking survivors experience is very complex and complicated. How do we help victims understand the love of God and that they are spiritual beings worthy of being loved by God?
Ponder these questions for a few moments.
Here is what some of the exploited women served through The Justice Project’s Willow Tree in Kansas City said about God:
- God is my protector
- God is good all of the time
- God is REAL love…not fake love
- God always found me when I was lost
- God is a spirit who always loves me when nobody did
- I used to think God was punishing me but now I know I just didn’t let him help me
- Without God, I would be dead
Which of these descriptions of God most strikes you? Why?
Conversation with the women also brought out that they don’t like the God-name “higher power” because it’s too abusive. They might consider “deeper power.” Their Native American transgendered person talked about the native belief that God is everywhere, takes all forms, has many names and is in all of us. The belief that God is always with them, but that they have the choice of what to do was voiced by almost everyone. The overall belief is that God is a loving God, but that God is very capable of, in their term, “kickin’ your ass”.
What do these women’s reflections about God say to you?
As so often happens, these victims and survivors amaze us and we receive more than we ever give. We have no idea or experience of the horrendous treatment they survive, so we are amazed at their courage in making the transition out. To fully respond to our calling for ministry with them, we must simply walk with them until we understand. It is a slow and arduous journey – let us begin!
And, let us pray:
Compassionate, tender God, you desire that all might have fullness of life and you invite us to care for all persons you have created. God, we know you are present and we are in awe of your grace which strengthens us as we hear the call to confront the tragic reality of human trafficking. May we respond as You would. AMEN.
Source: Sister Jeanne Christensen, RSM (Justice Advocate – Human Trafficking, Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community, North Kansas City, MO) and the women of The Justice Project’s Willow Tree in Kansas City, Missouri USA. To learn more, visit http://www.thejusticeprojectkc.org.