“Who is My Neighbor?”:
Modern Slavery in the Global Context and Christian Response
G Number: G10184226
FTS Box #963
Theology and Culture
Dr. Barry Taylor
Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1
Globalization and Modern Slavery .................................................................................. 2
What Is Globalization? .............................................................................................. 2
What Is Modern-Day Slavery? ................................................................................... 3
Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage ......................................................................... 3
Sex Trafficking ................................................................................................... 4
Child Soldiers .................................................................................................... 4
Domestic Servants .............................................................................................. 5
How Globalization Drives Modern Slavery................................................................ 5
Opened Eyes and Opportunities ......................................................................... 6
Supply and Demand of Labor ............................................................................. 6
Vast Illicit Profits ............................................................................................... 7
Thriving International Weapons Trade ............................................................... 8
Loving Our Global Neighbors ......................................................................................... 8
A Far One? A Near One? ........................................................................................... 9
As the Robber in the Global Slavery ................................................................. 11
As the Priest and Levite in the Global Slavery .................................................. 12
As the Lawyer in the Global Slavery ................................................................. 13
As the Good Samaritan in the Global Slavery ................................................... 14
Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 16
Bibliography ................................................................................................................. 17
The year 2007 saw the bicentennial celebration of the Slave Trade Act, which abolished the
transatlantic slave trade in 1807. Slavery, however, still continues in various ways today. There
are millions throughout the world forced against their will, under threat of punishment and
physical abuse, to work as sex slaves, child soldiers, bonded labor, and forced labor.1 Like the
slavery of old, this modern-day slavery involves the shame and degradation of human beings.
In addition, even though many have more or less heard and known about this issue, most
choose to either ignore or forget it. After all, do we not have other important business waiting for
us to deal with? In this fast-paced twenty-first century, it seems that we do not have enough time
to care about those far away from us who might be in misery. As Christians, we might have
compassion about the poor and the oppressed, but might feel powerless confronting the issue, or
unsure about how to participate in the struggle against slavery. Furthermore, the issue of modern
slavery is also far more complex and difficult to deal with than ever before; today, it involves a
larger scale of transnational interests and international situations in the global context. As
Christians, what is our role and moral obligation in the issue of slave trade in today‟s global
This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the relation between globalization and
modern slavery, presenting a Christian response to the issue in our time. First, I will explore how
globalization influences and drives modern slavery. Second, I will address the biblical theology
concerning God‟s commandment of love for our global neighbors—the enslaved and the
oppressed around the world. Finally, I will discuss the Christian‟s ethical responsibility on this
issue, dreaming alongside the abolitionists of today to envision a better future in which all
Citizenship Foundation, “Ending Slavery: An Unfinished Business,”
http://www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/lib_res_pdf/0577.pdf (accessed June 5, 2009), 5.
humankind can live with dignity, equality, and freedom.
Globalization and Modern Slavery
What Is Globalization?
Globalization is a process of integration and interaction that transforms local or regional
phenomena into global ones. It is formed and driven by the development of international trade
and investment, aided by the Internet and other communication technologies. The influence of
globalization can manifest in economic, technological, social, cultural, and political aspects. Yet
globalization is often used to refer to global free-market economic systems.2
In fact, the idea of globalization is not new. Many scholars think of sixteenth-century
Europe as the origin of globalization, since Europeans in that time established worldwide trade
connections, bringing their culture to different regions through colonization. Others point out that
the late nineteenth century was a period of intense globalization, because millions of people
migrated and international trade also expanded greatly. 3
However, the policy and technological developments of the last few decades have indeed
initiated an explosive growth of cross-border trade, global investment, and migration. First of all,
the development of communication and transportation technology is undoubtedly the principal
driver of globalization. Advances in information and transportation technology help various
individual economic actors—consumers, investors, and businesses—to identify and pursue more
economic opportunities, to more easily transfer their assets, and to better collaborate with global
partners. Furthermore, over the past two decades many countries have started adopting
Globalization 101, “What Is Globalization?” http://www.globalization101.org/What_is_Globalization.html
(accessed June 5, 2009).
Frank J. Lechner and John Boli, The Globalization Reader (Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2008), 2.
free-market economic policies to increase their productive potential and to create more
opportunities for international trade and investment. This trend certainly facilitates more
international corporations and enterprises in establishing production and marketing arrangements
with foreign partners.4
What Is Modern-Day Slavery?
When the concept of slavery is mentioned, the image that arises in the minds of most people
is the transatlantic slave trade that happened two hundred years ago. Millions of Africans were
shipped from continent to continent and enslaved as forced laborers in the plantations in the early
1800s. In addition, we have probably read or heard about the achievements of abolitionists in
history, finding inspiration in their courage and resolution to fight for human rights and dignity.
Thus, to modern minds slavery is part of our history rather than a present reality. Yet, the truth is
that slavery continues today. 5
According to a 2005 International Labor Organization report, there are more than 12 million
people currently being enslaved around the world. The actual figure, however, may be much
higher because a great deal of slavery is hidden. Some estimates even place it at over 20 million. 6
These people (most are women and children) are sold and exploited like objects, forced to work
and lead lives as slaves. Here I will introduce some forms of modern slavery.
Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage
Bonded labor or debt bondage is probably the least known form of slavery today. A person
Globalization 101, “What Is Globalization?” (accessed June 6, 2009).
Anti-slavery, “What Is Modern Slavery?” http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/modern.htm (accessed
June 5, 2009).
Citizenship Foundation, “Ending Slavery,” 27.
becomes a bonded labor when his or her labor is demanded to repay the borrowed money or
owed debt. The person is then trapped into working for very little or no pay, often for seven days
a week. However, even though the real value of their work is undoubtedly greater than the
original money borrowed, their wages are too low to pay off the debt. Millions are enslaved in
bonded labor all over the world.7
“Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced
by force, fraud, or coercion.”8 The patterns which lure victims into the situation of sex
1. A promise of a good job in another country
2. A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
3. Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends
4. Being kidnapped by traffickers9
Kara argues that at the end of 2006 approximately 1.2 million of women and children in the
world have been abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, made to service
hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded.10
There are more than 250,000 child soldiers involved in over 30 areas of conflict around the
world, from Colombia, and across Africa and the Middle East, to South Asia. Some children are
abducted from their schools or even off their beds, while others are recruited after seeing their
Citizenship Foundation, “Ending Slavery,” 27.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center, “Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet,”
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/fact_sex.pdf (accessed June 5, 2009).
Siddharth Kara, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (New York: Columbia University Press,
parents slaughtered. Once recruited, they are brainwashed, trained, given drugs, and then sent
into battle with orders to kill. Some of these boys may not even be ten years old; girls,
meanwhile, are often coerced into becoming sex slaves or “soldiers‟ wives.”11
Huge numbers of children and young women are forced to work as domestic servants, since
their families are so poor that their labor is necessary for survival. They are more vulnerable,
cheaper to hire and are less likely to demand higher wages or better working conditions. This is
common in South Asia, South America, and Africa.12
How Globalization Drives Modern Slavery
Is globalization is simply a phenomenon involving the rapid expansion of international trade
and the opening up of national economies to the influence of the global market? The answer here
is no because there are more dimensions regarding globalization. “The expansion of international
trade and the revolution in communication technologies are best seen as preconditions for
globalization, not as globalization itself.”13
Lechner and Boli argue that globalization means “more people across large distance become
connected in more and different ways.”14 In this way, the world gradually and inexorably
Ann O‟Neill, “Stolen Kids Turned into Terrifying Killers,” CNN.com,
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/02/12/child.soldiers/index.html (accessed June 6, 2009).
Anti-slavery, “Child Soldiers,” http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/childlabour.htm#soldier (accessed
June 6, 2009).
Citizenship Foundation, “Ending Slavery,” 27.
Anti-slavery, “Why Do Children Work?” http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/childlabour.htm#why
(accessed June 6, 2009).
Bob Goudzwaard, Mark Vander Vennen, and David Van Heemst, Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for
Confronting Global Crises (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007), 140.
Lechner and Boli, The Global Reader, 1.
becomes a “single place,”15 creating a complex network of interdependence reflected in the
emergence of a global culture and consciousness. As a result, local events are inevitably
interwoven with global ones; individuals in global networks become “subject to global forces
and governed by global rules.”16 From this premise, let us begin to explore the relation between,
and the driving power behind, globalization and modern-day slavery.
Opened Eyes and Opportunities
Through the development of communication technology, access to information today is
much easier than ever before. Those in the undeveloped countries or poor areas now have
unprecedented opportunities to communicate with others abroad. In addition, relatively cheaper
and more convenient transportation technology makes it possible to leave one‟s own place. These
contributing factors allow many in poorer countries to have their eyes opened to new vistas of
opportunity, motivating them to try their luck or take risks. 17 Human traffickers often prey on
this kind of mentality and deceive victims by pretending that they can provide better jobs in
urban areas, or offering chances overseas. Unsuspecting victims— most of them are women and
children—are then eventually brought to a remote and unknown place, and forced to engage in
sex slavery or work in sweatshops.
Supply and Demand of Labor
As globalization creates the new freedom for millions of potential workers to move from
their poor areas to the places that need them, it is the hunger of multinational employers for
Lechner and Boli, The Global Reader, 2.
Moisés Naí Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy (New York:
Doubleday, 2005), 90.
low-waged workers that drives slavery in these days. 18 The way they exploit vulnerable poor
job-seekers includes unreasonable minimum wages, dangerous working environments, long
working hours, or abuse from employers themselves. The suffering of slaves is connected to the
western consumerism through globalization. As Bales argues,
Slaves in Pakistan may have made the shoes you are wearing and the carpet you stand on. Slaves in the
Caribbean may have put sugar in your kitchen and toys in the hands of your children. In India they may have
sew the shirt on your back and polished the ring on your finger.19
Vast Illicit Profits
The tremendous profits from global trafficking in persons make it difficult to diminish or
eliminate. “Human trafficking,” according to the United Nations, “has become big business.” 20
The UN experts estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking is in excess of $32
billion. Out of this, about $10 billion derives from the initial “sale” of individuals, while the
remainder represents the estimated profits from the activities or goods produced by the victims of
this barbaric crime.21 Criminal agents and traffickers around the world create “networks of
efficient intermediaries who take advantage of restrictive laws and international borders to
connect supply and demand at a high price.”22 The global value chain of sex industry includes
recruiters, procurer of documents, transportation providers, corrupt officials, pimps, ship crews,
local guides, and miscellaneous others.23 Therefore, human trafficking is a global moral issue as
well as a global economic issue.
Naí Illicit, 90.
Kevin Bales, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (Berkeley: University of California Press,
UN News Center. “UN and Partners Launch Initiative to End „Modern Slavery‟ of Human Trafficking,”
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=22009&Cr=slave&Cr1 (accessed June 6, 2009).
Naí Illicit, 106.
Thriving International Weapons Trade
Today most parts of the African continent are still plagued by poverty, violence and
suffering. Almost all of the ten poorest countries in the world are in Africa, 24 and poverty is
always the major and direct cause of slavery. Ironically, “according to the United Nations, since
1990 the small-arms trade has fueled close to fifty wars around the world, especially (though not
only) in Africa.”25 Vast amounts of cold war-era overstock have flowed into Africa through the
international weapons trade,26 and it is also one of the most important reasons why there are so
many civil wars in Africa. As a result, numerous wars bring about poverty, which in turn creates
a conducive environment for traffickers and recruiters to enslave those vulnerable women and
children as forced labors, sex slaves, and child soldiers.
Loving Our Global Neighbors
The church today often faces the question about how it ought to confront globalization. If
we cannot adapt and adapt speedily, it is sometimes said, we will be left behind. Yet it seems to
me that this question here is in fact misplaced. From a biblical perspective, it is globalization that
has to face the church. “We must judge „the pattern of this world‟ and decide under the counsel
of the Holy Spirit what is good and what is not good about it.”27 As the apostle Paul says, “Do
not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and
perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Therefore, we are not called to adjust or accommodate to
Maps of World, “Top Poorest Countries,”
http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/world-top-ten-poorest-countries-map.html (accessed June 6, 2009).
Naí Illicit, 15.
William D. Taylor, Global Missiology for the Twenty-First Century: Reflections from the Iguassu Dialogue
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 60.
globalization, but rather to speak to and save the enslaved and oppressed, who are caught up in
the wave of globalization, just as those witnesses did with all the previous tidal wave in human
history.28 We are called to be witnesses of God‟s love, compassion, and justice for the young
woman held in forced prostitution, for the worker illegally detained and tortured, and for the
child sold into slavery.
The Scriptures reminds us, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners,
and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). We need to
recall the plight of the oppressed and imprisoned. Furthermore, Christ taught us that to love our
neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40), which means to treat them the way we would like to
be treated (Luke 6:31),29 stands as the core of our faith. Hence, through the parable of Good
Samaritan I will address why and how to love our global neighbors—the oppressed, the
marginalized, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable around the world.
A Far One? A Near One?
Luke 10:25-37 describes a profound and meaningful conversation between Jesus and a
certain lawyer who seeks to test him. Though in the beginning Jesus is confronted by this lawyer,
by the end it is Jesus, through the parable of Good Samaritan, confronting “the layer‟s
assumptions about the world, about the identity of the neighbor, and about God‟s call to a certain
way of life with neighbors.”30 This narrative provides us with clear and fresh ethical practices on
the issue of slavery these days in the global context.
The confrontation begins with the lawyer‟s question regarding eternal life. Jesus does not
Taylor, Global Missiology for the Twenty-First Century, 60.
Gary A. Haugen, Good News about Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World (Downers Grove, Ill.:
InterVarsity Press, 1999), 39.
Douglas A. Hicks and Mark Valeri, Global Neighbors: Christian Faith and Moral Obligation in Today's Economy
(Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.,2008), 8.
answer him directly but turns the question back on him, asking him to declare the common
understanding of the day as found in the Torah; the lawyer responds with what are commonly
known as two greatest commandments: love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. 31
The lawyer‟s response seems to manifest their common assumptions of ethical life based on
loving God and loving neighbors. However, it soon becomes evident that their shared ethical
framework is in essence different from each other‟s.32
We should remember that the lawyer‟s original purpose is to test Jesus, and not simply agree
with him. So the lawyer, desiring to justify himself, soon asks another question, “Who is my
neighbor?” Jesus responds with what has become one of the best-known parables, that of “the
Good Samaritan.” Most scholars agree that this seeks to teach us how to love others as ourselves.
Yet, if we pay closer attention to some details in the story of Good Samaritan, we would find
other imaginative ethical practices in our way of neighborly life.
To begin with, the Greek word for “Neighbor” (plēsion) literally means “near one.” Thus,
we can read the lawyer‟s question as “Who is my near one?” In other words, the question raised
by the lawyers asks, “who is the one who is „near‟ enough for me to pay attention to?” or “who is
the „near one‟ whom the Torah commands me to love?” 33 Jesus‟ response, citing the Good
Samaritan story, fully explains the importance of the spatial implications of near and far.
In the parable, a certain man who is going from Jerusalem to Jericho falls into the hands of
robbers, being stripped, beaten and left half dead. The robbers drawing near to this man, in some
way, become his neighbors (that is, “near ones”), 34 but treat him in a destructive and harmful
way. After the robbers come a priest and Levite. They approach the injured man, becoming his
Hicks and Valeri, Global Neighbors, 8.
“near one,” but soon choose to pass by on the other side. The final character, however, comes
toward the beaten body lying on the side of the road. Rather than passing by on the other side, he
shows compassion for the wounded man. Unlike the robbers, priest, and Levite, the Samaritan
acts as a real “near one” for the man in need of help.
As the Robber in the Global Slavery
I want to discuss some ideas from this story and its relation to the issue of modern-day
slavery. First of all, when we read this text, which character do we identify with? I think the least
possible one would be the robbers. Even if we may not think of ourselves as good people, we are
unlikely to regard ourselves as bandits who rob, attack, and even kill others. Yet, deceived by the
illusion of economic prosperity and drinking ourselves from the benefits of globalization, we
unconsciously become one of those who exploit the poor and oppressed in the third world
through globalized economic and commercial activities. Consider this example that Haugen
World Vision India, a Christian relief and development agency, recently introduced me [Haugen] to a
ten-year-old girl in a little village in the state of Tamil Naidu. Her name is Kanmani. From 8:00 in the morning
until 6:00 at night, six days a week, she is required to complete 2,000 cigarettes a day. If she doesn‟t work fast
enough, her overseer strikes her on the head. Her ten-hour work day is broken only by a single thirty-minute
lunch period. At the end of a long week she gets her wages—about seventy-five cents. Worst of all, she has
been working like this for more than five years.35
Kanmani is simply a typical case of bonded labor. The question I want to ask here is this. Who is
it that consumes those cigarettes? The poor child laborers, or consumers in the wealthy countries?
It seems that global capitalism helps us not only to efficiently control resources and engage in
economic activities, but also to more effectively exploit the poor and the vulnerable in the third
Haugen, Good News about Injustice, 43.
As the Priest or Levite in the Global Slavery
Traditionally (or by definition), Jesus‟ contemporaries would have regarded the priest and
Levite as the “near ones.”36 Yet, in the parable told by Jesus they are the “far ones,” since they
do not stop to help the injured man. Even though they have been taught by the commandment of
God to love neighbors as themselves, they still choose to pass by on the other side. We can be
certain that they do not understand the true meaning of God‟s commandment of love because all
commandments are “summed up in this one rule: „Love your neighbor as yourself‟” (Romans
13:9). Unfortunately, Christians today seem like the priest and Levite who possess knowledge
about love but lack of any action of love for the oppressed and the needy. The fact is that we
often choose to ignore or forget the reality human suffering and misery, even though we have
ourselves once been moved to sadness about it. Haugen gives us a good example to illustrate this
idea. During the early stages of development, an infant has no capacity to maintain interest in
anything that is not immediately before its eyes. When a brightly colored ball or rattle is held up
before babies, their eyes seizes new thing with urgent curiosity, trying to touch, feel and embrace
it. Yet, as the toy is moved out of infants‟ sight, they do not look for it or even express any
disappointment that the toy is no longer there to explore, because they have not yet developed
the mental capacity for “object permanence.”37 We are often just like infants in this regard; as
the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” We feel sorry but still pass by those far ones—the
young women held in sex slavery in Cambodia, the bonded laborers illegally tortured in Brazil,
and the child soldiers forced to kill people in Uganda.
Hicks and Valeri, Global Neighbors, 11.
Haugen, Good News about Injustice, 37.
As the Lawyer in the Global Slavery
At the beginning of the conversation, the lawyer and Jesus seem to share the same ethical
framework: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). It
soon becomes clear, however, that the lawyer does not understand the real meaning behind God‟s
commandment of love. At first, he wants to justify himself by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” He
seems to believe that no matter how Jesus responds he will be able to answer with pride and
certainty, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” (Luke 18:21). Jesus knows his intent so that
through the Good Samaritan story Jesus reverses the question from “who is my neighbor?” to
“what does it mean to be a neighbor?”—that is, to act neighborly. 38 Jesus sees the pride in the
lawyer‟s heart that causes him to think of himself as a good person who has enough love toward
God and neighbor. Yet, what this lawyer needs to understand is that he is simply a sinful man
whose love is limited and insufficient. Jesus wants the lawyer to humbly ask the question, “what
does it mean to be a neighbor?” This is really a profound lesson for us, since like the lawyer we
often behave as if we have already fully understood and obeyed God‟s commandment of love.
But if we do so we are simply being as narrow-minded and ignorant as the lawyer. Therefore,
what we have to do is to return to God, humbly asking for his grace and power to love our global
In addition, Jesus also wants to break “the cultural context of the lawyer [that] has limited
the concept of neighbor to a very specific subset of individuals.”39 Like fish that do not perceive
the sea, the lawyer‟s question (“who is my neighbor?”) reflects a restricted view of the realm of
the concept of “neighbor.” Thus, Hicks and Valeri argue that the particular power of the parable
Hicks and Valeri, Global Neighbors, 9.
is not only to define what neighborly action look like but also to create new imaginative
possibilities that challenge the restricted view of neighbor. That is, Jesus pushes the lawyer to
rethink his neighbor boundaries if they are not nonexistent.40 Jesus‟ teaching here certainly helps
us to prepare our mind to face our own false and limited “neighbor-view.”41 Like the lawyer, we
often set various kinds of boundaries between the needed and us, boundaries such as distance,
ethnicity, culture, and even personal likes or dislikes. However, the boundary that “exists
between the coffee grower in Latin America and the computer consultant who stops as Starbucks
each day has collapsed over the past decades”42 through the wave of globalization. Thus, for us
who seek to be faithful disciples of Christ, what we should do is to ride the wave of globalization
to witness to God‟s love, compassion, and justice for the oppressed, the marginalized and the
vulnerable in this global village.
As the Good Samaritan in the Global Slavery
As for the Good Samaritan, Hicks and Valeri argue that “the one expected to be and act like
a far one becomes a near one by going to the injured man and acting with God-like
compassion.”43 In the previous section, I discussed how Jesus uses the story of the Good
Samaritan as an example to break up neighbor boundaries for the lawyers. Here, I want to
address one of the most intriguing concepts in the parable—“compassion.” Instead of passing by
on the other side, the Scripture describes the Samaritan as the one who has compassion on the
injured man (Luke 10:33).
Bailey observes that the robbers take money from the man, while the Samaritan spends
Hicks and Valeri, Global Neighbors, 12.
money on the man; the robbers beat the man, while the Samaritan binds his wounds; eventually,
the robbers leave him for dead and depart without promise of return, while the Samaritan put the
injured man in the care of others, and he promises that he will come back. 44 We can see that real
compassion brings about true healing, love, and rescue into the lives of the enslaved people
around the world. Yet, what is real compassion? Haugen states that compassion “is infinitely
easier to state than it is to believe—especially during the long stretches of silence when we
picture the cries of the oppressed arcing out from the earth only to be lost in a dark, endless void
that neither hears nor speaks.”45 However, we believe that our God has compassion for those
who suffer injustice, since the apostle Paul tells us that He is “the Father of compassion” (2
Corinthians 1:3) and the psalmist also describes that “our God is full of compassion” (Psalm
116:5). In fact, the word “compassion” is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, which
together mean “to suffer with.”46 Therefore,
compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion,
and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to
weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable,
and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.47
When we look at compassion in this way, it is clear that compassion involves more than just a
general disposition of kindness or tenderheartedness. Likewise, through God‟s
name—Immanuel—“we recognize God‟s commitment to live in solidarity with us, to share
our...pains, and defend and protect us, and to suffer all of life with us.”48 Hence, we can believe
that God is present, in a sorrowful, mysterious solidarity, at the rape of all the world‟s prostitutes,
Kenneth E. Bailey, Poet and Peasant: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1976), 73.
Haugen, Good News about Injustice, 78.
Henri Nouwen, Donald McNeill, and Douglas Morrison, Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life (Garden
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982), 3.
and at the moment the last breath of hope expires from the breast of each of the millions of little
children languishing under bonded servitude. 49 Today, this God is calling us to walk into the
suffering and misery of the oppressed all over the world, beyond our fleshy limitations,
prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes. This is what the powerful parable of
the Good Samaritan seeks to teach us.
The wave of globalization causes more and more people across large distances to become
connected in a multitude of ways. Many recognize that the world is increasingly becoming a
“global village.” However, everything always has its pros and cons, and globalization is also
without exception. Indeed, the impact of the global illicit trade has caused tens of millions of
oppressed and enslaved in this global village to suffer injustice, whether through the human
trafficking, forced labor, or sex slavery across the world. We need to make a decision as to which
character we want to be in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We can join with the global vested
interest groups to exploit the oppressed, like the bandits in the Good Samaritan story. We can
choose to ignore or forget their suffering, like what the priest and the Levite do. We can even act
like the lawyer, as if what we devoted to the needy and the vulnerable was enough. But what if
we chose to respond to God‟s calling to be Good Samaritans to our global neighbors, loving with
compassion, being passionate for justice, and acting to rescue? If we are able to respond to this
calling, we will be one step closer to a future in which all humankind can live with dignity,
equality, and freedom.
Haugen, Good News about Injustice, 80.
Anti-slavery. “Child Soldiers.”
http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/childlabour.htm#soldier (accessed June 6,
———. “What Is Modern Slavery?”
http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/modern.htm (accessed June 5, 2009).
———. “Why Do Children Work?”
http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/antislavery/childlabour.htm#why (accessed June 6,
Ann O‟Neill. “Stolen Kids Turned into Terrifying Killers.” CNN.com. (February 12, 2007).
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/02/12/child.soldiers/index.html (accessed June 6,
Bailey, Kenneth E. Poet and Peasant: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976.
Bales, Kevin. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2004.
Citizenship Foundation. “Ending Slavery: An Unfinished Business,”
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