A 14 year old girl in a rural village needs to contribute to the household's income and is approached by someone promising she will be placed in a home seeking domestic help or a factory. Her parents, desperate for money so the rest of their family can survive, allow her to go with the person. Her parents are expecting to receive wages from her "working in safe conditions" ...
Receiving a bride price or conversely a dowry is customary in some cultures, so marrying off girls before 18 is common place. For marrying their daughter, they receive money and goods from the groom's family in exchange. Giving a dowry gives the couple a "start" and helps the groom and his family initially provide for the bride. For the bride's family, marrying off their daughter can alleviate some the financial burdens they're facing: debts, bills, etc.. Ultimately, it is one less mouth to feed. The younger the better...
The bread winner of the family suddenly finds him/herself unable to provide for the family due to medical reasons. As the family gets deeper into debt trying to survive they may take out a loan for a few hundred dollars and find a few months later they owe thousands. A neighbor tells them they can sell their daughter's virginity for a good price and she can be sent to brothels after that. She ends up going to the doctor to get a certificate of virginity and then handed over to traffickers for a price ...
All of these scenarios are common place in which children find themselves being a part of human trafficking and a majority of the time in the sex trade. It is estimated that about 2 million children are exploited globally in the sex trade each year (http://www.equalitynow.org/node/1010). Just as these scenarios suggest, these children are not snatched off of the streets or forcibly kidnapped. Sadly, too often they are willingly given to traffickers by parents or loved ones who unknowingly put their child in danger. They believe ultimately their child will be better off and that it will help the family. In cases with child marriages, sometimes the marriages are legitimate other times they are just luring these girls into forced labor or the sex trade.
It seems incredulous. How can these things happen? Unfortunately, the human trafficking trade is so extensive and so underground it is difficult to combat it. Often, these children are taken into other countries making it even more difficult for them to seek help or be found. Human trafficking is a billion dollar business ... traffickers protect their "interests" quite cunningly.
How can anyone exploit children in this way?
Yes, trafficking adults is wrong - but children?
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:15-16 NIV emphasis mine)
Even the disciples, who walked with Jesus on a daily basis missed how important children are to Him. I am so glad that we have a God who cares about children. And once again I will reiterate that we are His hands and feet. We are the ones who should be used to help rescue these children and ultimately stop them from being sold in the first place. It seems that the primary motivation of those selling children to would be traffickers is poverty. The whole family is starving and they believe selling their child for labor will help the whole family.
Is it right?
No, of course not.
However, people do desperate things when they are faced with desperate situations.
I challenge you to educate yourself more on the perils of human trafficking, especially child trafficking. The innumerable cases and scenarios cannot be exhausted here. I am adding a few links of stories and statistics you can look into. You can always put "child trafficking" into your search engine and start there. Unfortunately, the problem isn't going away anytime soon ... Just last week 37 babies and a 3 year old little girl were rescued from traffickers in China.
“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:5-6 NLT)
Just Around the Corner,