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Modern Slavery & the Fight for Human Dignity

by Phil Metzger

Modern Slavery & the Fight for Human Dignity

In 2015, Europe experienced a massive migration crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of people made the heart-breaking decision to leave their lives and homes and run to safer ground. In Hungary, we had a front row seat to history. 

Calvary Chapels in Hungary and Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe chose not just to sit and watch but to get involved in the crisis. We set up camps and provided basic necessities to those who had walked for weeks on their way to Western Europe. It was an unbelievable time, and all of us involved are thankful for the privilege.

There was another element of this crisis that has been seared into my heart.

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Human trafficking.

Much of the crisis in Hungary focused on a field adjacent to a small village called Röszke. It was here that the thousands crossed from Serbia into Hungary. There’s nothing out there but a little country road connecting the highway and the small town.

Every day and night our teams would go out there and serve. In the beginning, we were all so unorganized. We had never done anything like this!

The only group completely organized were the traffickers.

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That little country road became the pickup point for traffickers looking to “help” (exploit) people. Some nights the line of cars was 2km (over 1 mile).

The lucky refugees got into a car that actually took them over to the next border with Austria. The unlucky ones were robbed and dropped off in the opposite direction of the western border. And then there were those who were separated out and never seen again, most likely sold off to a prostitution ring.

Seeing these human traffickers has had an indelible impact upon those of us who were there.

That is why this April 29th and 30th, Calvary Budapest is hosting an exhibition, highlighting the real problems of human trafficking in Eastern Europe, particularly in Hungary. For years, our church has had an outreach to help girls out of prostitution and trafficking, but this refugee crisis has stirred our hearts to try and elevate this to a national campaign.

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We are gathering all those serving to fight human trafficking in Hungary, both civil and Christian organizations.

Groups like the UNHCR will be attending as well as a representative from the current government of Hungary.

The purpose of this day conference will be to figure out how we can all work together better. It’s a shame that the traffickers are so organized, and the rest of us are not. At the same time, we will host a 2-day exhibition in our church building called “What are you worth?” People will have the opportunity of experiencing some of the horrors for those who have been trafficked. We will work to understand how someone ends up being trafficked.

This exhibition is a bridge between our world and theirs.

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As well, we will highlight the problem of pornography today and its connection to human trafficking.

It is estimated in Hungary that there are 35,000 slaves living among us.

Last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked why gender equality was important to him in his newly formed cabinet. He responded, “Because it’s 2015!” Now it’s 2016- nobody should be bought and sold like property.

If there has ever been an issue for us Christians to care about, it should be this one.

We are the champions of freedom. We believe that God has set us free from the power of darkness, sin, death and hell. Who the Son has set free is free indeed! We believe in freedom both now and for eternity. And yet today, there are still people who don’t have the basic freedoms we take for granted. It is much easier to look down on them and assume that they chose a lifestyle of sin and perversion.

I’m so glad God didn’t look down and feel the same way about us! It’s 2016 and slavery should end. God made us in His image- loved and treasured.

What are you worth?

Phil Metzger

​​​Phil Metzger is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel San Diego. ​​​He was the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Budapest & has served as a full-time missionary since 1998.