I was so encouraged and felt very excited last week as I was invited to attend the launch of ACT Sussex (Active Communities Against Trafficking) at Windlesham School. A really eye opening evening was punctuated with contributions from Sussex Police, Nick Herbert MP and Stop the Traffik (www.stopthetraffik.org). My eyes were well and truly opened to the huge problem we are facing with Trafficked people now the second largest global illegal trade only surpassed by the Illegal Arms Trade. I also learned that people are enslaved within countries to including our own. I learned the tell tale signs and what we need to be looking out for to be the Polices eyes and ears. Sussex Police are committed to exerting the full measure of the law on this abhorrent and most cruel of crimes. They are also aware of reality of the issue in our own county and deploying significant resources at the crime Stop the Traffik’s slogan of ‘People Shouldn’t be Bought or Sold’ was ringing in my heart, mind and soul. There was an encouragement that came from the evening to me though. As I scanned the room of 250 people other than the impressive Police presence across all ranks was the amount of Christians, Churches and Christian Organisations represented in the room. The Clapham Sect would have been proud I felt with people motivated by to bring the literal freedom to the captives as Jesus exalts in his earth shattering manifesto in Luke 4 drawn from Isaiah’s words. Jesus was the fulfilment of the Prophets words and now we are called to likewise to be that fulfilment.
You can imagine the red mist that descended on me less than a week later when I saw the shame of a breaking scandal ‘ninos robados’ ,the ‘stolen children’ on the BBC. The scandal is breaking over mass trafficking of Children around and out of Spain in the 1930’s until as recent as the19 90’s. To our shame it is looking like the Catholic Church played a big role in this. It is estimated that 300,000 babies were taken and then sold. Their parents being told they had died shortly after birth.
From glory to shame in one fell swoop for the Church. I was spitting with rage as the Church in moved from Pioneer and agent of change to accused and seemingly imminently to be convicted. I was so angry and ashamed it made me cry.
Having reflected a few days on I feel the only way forward is to continue to try and be that fulfilment of Isaiah words. Whilst acknowledging anything we do will be imperfect but runnig towards being part of the answer not the problem. The anger, embarrassment and frustration are still there but I feel driven even more to crack on ‘set the captives free’ and at the same time bringing the Bride of Christ back to glory.