by Rick Morton
Obviously, orphans are among the least powerful and most vulnerable people on earth. That is why I believe that God has been so direct in His call to care for them. They are defenseless, and God by His very nature is a defender. In His call to emulate His holiness, He wants us to be defenders as well.
From their lack of standing and significance in society, orphaned children are easy to exploit. Mostly, when they are taken, they are not missed. When they are abused, they are not heard. And sadly, there is a seemingly endless supply of orphans to be used and cast aside by a depraved system of abusers.
According to the US State Department, somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, and approximately 50 percent of those trafficked are children. Orphan children can find themselves in dire circumstances, serving in forced labor and even prostitution at the hands of a well organized and lucrative global criminal system bent on their exploitation for the gain of others.
- Some children are sold into slavery by their families or are given away by their families on the promise of a better life for the child, and thus they are rendered fatherless in the process.
- Others are abducted into slavery from the streets with no one to notice their absence or to come looking for them.
- Orphan graduates, those children who “age out” of an institutional situation, face great difficulty and can be easy targets for human traders and pimps. With nowhere to turn for the basic necessities of life, they give up the one commodity they possess—themselves—to pay the price for their subsistence.
As ambassadors of Christ, we must stand in the gap for these helpless children. They are our concern because they are God’s handiwork, and they are being treated unjustly. The presence of this kind of injustice is dishonoring to God.
To God’s glory from His example, we must look for practical ways to care for exploited orphans and to rescue them from their oppressors. How can we as individuals and as churches take part in making a difference for a vulnerable orphan? We have to be creative to make a real difference.
While we must look for little, personal ways to rescue exploited orphans, we also need to band together and use the collective voice of the church. We must stand up as citizens and voters to insist that our local, state, and national governments take action on orphans’ behalf. We must use our place in the world as a tool of pressure to make laws that fight back the slavery and oppression of these precious children.
Rick Morton, along with his wife, Denise, played an integral role in the cofounding of Promise 139, an international orphan-hosting ministry. He serves as discipleship pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Rick and Denise have three children, all adopted.