It has been said that there are more slaves in the world today than all of the slaves combined during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. I suppose the argument could be made that there are more people in the world today than there were 250 years ago. But that doesn’t change the issue. People are in chains. People made in God’s image. People who are just like you and me, robbed of their freedom, dignity, and often times purity.
Many countries could face the pointed finger regarding slavery, and America is one of them. Reportedly one of the greatest consumers of sex trafficking, the USA bears much of the blame.
There are many things that I could draw attention to regarding ways to pray for the Philippines, but the one that has burdened my heart the most this week is the issue of the sex trade in this country. According to Operation World, there are 60,000 children and 500,000 women involved in this horrific trade in the Philippines alone. And many more are trafficked to other countries. Between 32% and 50% of Filipinos live below the poverty line, which only perpetuates the cycle. In some countries many families sell their children (whether knowingly or unknowingly) to traffickers to either pay off debt or to receive the promise of food and shelter for their starving child.
There are over 90 million people living in the Philippines. While there is freedom of religion many Filipinos hold to Catholicism due to the years of influence from Spanish rule. Much of the following of Catholic religion is syncretistic in nature. There is a small segment of the Filipinos that practice Islam. They are located in the southern portion of the Philippines and have been the perpetrators of violence. The Muslim minority in this area (Mindanao) would like to establish their own separate Islamic state. There has been a growth in evangelicalism in recent years, but poverty and second generation nominalism has made growth less than desired.
Ways to pray:
- There are key Christian leaders within the government. Pray that God would use them to wield their power for his glory and for the sake of the most vulnerable—slaves in their own country.
- Pray that these leaders would proclaim Christ to the people they come in contact with.
- Pray for existing evangelicals and that they would be equipped to advocate in Jesus’ name for the least of their society.
- There are relief organizations in the Philippines seeking to rescue women and children from the sex trade. Pray for their work and that they would be fruitful and see Christ magnified out of the most dark circumstances.