Globalization, Human Trafficking and Social Justice

My latest blog posts have been concerned with elements that I deem important for the Global Church in the context of globalization and decentralization of Christianity today. On this post, I want to defend that along with the basic tenants and diversity of the faith, the global church must likewise be concerned with global social injustice.

The 21st century poses significant challenges for the mission of the church. The continuing processes of economic, technological and cultural globalization are working to shrink the world, globalizing social injustices, such as poverty and human trafficking that will require the response from the Global Church. A recent publication titled Deviant Globalization has painted the negative side of globalization on the canvas of capitalist economic optimism. As an example, the ease of travel and communication triggered by technological advances has produced a scenario where “women’s bodies are commodities in a global sex-trade, making it a multi-billion dollar industry” (Deviant Globalization, 67).

The figure for the sex-trade industry is 186 billion U.S. dollars to be exact (HavocScope 2014). The editors of Deviant Globalization attest that rising numbers in prostitution and human trafficking are also sustained by the growing social inequality caused by globalization. “Girls are often sold into prostitution by poor families, and increasingly, girls and women are simply kidnapped, often from poverty-stricken regions to be sold globally as sex slaves and prostitutes” (Deviant Globalization, 67). Nonetheless, the growing number of human trafficking is not simply a problem of the developing nations in the Global South. Today, an estimated 50,000 women are trafficked into the USA each year.

In the face of such great challenges, a unilateral concern for social justice is required from the global church as a whole. The global church needs to combat global problems. Long-past were the days were contextual theologies only spoke to a specific regional problem. We now have global problems, such as the sex-trade industry, that are indiscriminant of geographic and social strata.

On this front, partnerships between local churches and Christian NGO’s can serve to establish a universal moral compass for social action. If the Eucharist can serve as a theological center like we’ve seen, justice can serve as a theological imperative that redefines the missional identity of the global church beyond simplistic humanitarianism. It can serve to promote a sense of justice that is internal and external, reconciling with God, self and others. Drawing from the past, Donald Bloesch suggests a course of action. “The great saints of the church revolutionized society because they have given the world a new metaphysical vision, a world and life view anchored in the transcendent. They have provided not simply programs of social change, but a sense of meaning and purpose to existence” (Bloesch, 52).

Therefore, a global concern for social justice is aware of the magnitude of the challenges facing the world. It also seeks to develop global partnerships between the multi-faceted global church. Above all, it proclaims a message of Kingdom justice that is at the same time soteriological and eschatological.