Turn On the Lights [Counter-Trafficking in the Muslim World]

Scripture doesn’t mince words. Our condition independent of our Maker is neither fruitful nor flattering; yet “those who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”[1] Bought with the Son’s blood by the Father’s decree, the Spirit quickly gets to work conforming renewed men and women into the Image of the Holy, restoring the damage done by a snake and stupid decisions so long ago.[2] The task is not for the faint of heart.

We’ve all lived “without hope and without God,”[3] under the crushing ignorance of unbelief and an appetite satiated by ungodly things. So when we hear of atrocities so severe they numb our hearts and minds, we must remember that “such were some of [us],”[4] and no treason is stronger than the mercy of our just King.[5] 

And yet the darkness surprises us. Shocks us. Scares us. It can feel as though evil is inventing new techniques every day, and finding new victims each night.

When it comes to the world of human trafficking—literally “world,” as it is “a global phenomenon to which no country is immune,”[6]—much is still cloaked in mystique and mystery. We’ve all seen Taken, yet we know Hollywood representations only go so far to fill in gaps of information. Dramatizations reduce scores of statistics to well-cast characters who, however dynamic they may be, all receive a cleanly resolved storyline before the credits begin to roll.

Such is not so in real life.

Yet, even the United States Department of State recognizes wickedness must be diagnosed in degrees to dole out appropriately prescribed, even strategic, solutions—meaning that for something as straight-out-of-the-deepest-pit-of-hell like inviting young women who’ve graduated from second-world orphanages to work and make a life and living in a different country, only to escort them, confiscate their passports, confine them to a brothel, and force them to perform multiple sex acts with multiple men every day and night just to line your own pockets—even then, there is still yet a badand worst-case scenario.

It is the latter which characterizes the trade throughout the Muslim world. When the exploitation of women is religiously sanctified—thank you, Muhammed—cultural lust is emboldened and empowered. There are no checks nor balances in neither government nor conscience, and women are demoted from Islam’s second-class status to the bottom of every socioeconomic, legal, and baseline-of-human-dignity barrel. It is the worst case of a worst kind of wickedness.

For those of us, then, tangibly aware of our own histories, sought and sealed and sanctified by the “avenger of all [sexual abuse],”[7] commissioned as walking candles bringing the “light of the world”[8] into the nations, we are faced with the kind of task that cannot be entrusted to or stewarded by fools without strategy.

We have to turn on the lights.

We must advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves, bringing global awareness to the crimes committed against them, and serving them in rescue with a holy vision for their restoration. And, we must remember Christ can take the worst of bloodthirsty men and make him into a trophy of grace.[9] Countering the dark underbelly of human trafficking and sexual slavery in the Muslim world is useless if not undergirded by the Gospel; “it is for freedom Christ sets us free.”[10]

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful to even speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.”[11]


Stephanie Quick is the author of To Trace a Rising Sun and a writer and producer serving with Frontier Alliance International in the Middle East. Sign up for her ministry updates here and receive a free copy of her book Confronting Unbelief. She can be reached at stephanie@stephaniequick.org.


[1] Isaiah 9:2
[2] Genesis 3:1-7
[3] Ephesians 2:12
[4] 1 Corinthians 6:11
[5] Romans 3:26
[6] US State Department, Trafficking In Persons Report (2018). Retrieved from https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/282798.pdf
[7] 1 Thessalonians 4:6
[8] Matthew 5:14
[9] See Saul’s conversion in Acts 9; 1 Timothy 1:15
[10] Galatians 5:1
[11] Ephesians 5:11-12