The Boko Haram leader initially vowed to sell the girls, some of them into Cameroon and Chad. More recently he has sought to use many of them as hostages promising their release in exchange for Boko Haram prisoners held in Nigeria.
This Saturday, May 17, France will host a summit where representatives from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, the United States and Britain will meet with the President of Nigeria. The event has refocused the world on the widespread problem of Islamic extremism and human trafficking.
Around the world, the poor, oppressed and helpless continue to be forced into prostitution and slave labor. They become victims in wars that seem to never end. The absence of human dignity, respect, compassion and justice is appalling. According to the U.S. Department of State, “There are approximately 600,000 to 800,000 children, women and men trafficked across international borders annually.” 80% of these are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors.
Sometimes we are overcome with the evil that exists in the world. But widespread violence and injustice is not new. King David wrestled with the same realities in Psalm 10. He wrote:
“Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted. … His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair. … O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble. You will strengthen their heart. You will incline your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.”
Jesus had no illusions about the world and its evil. He predicted we would have wars and rumors of wars. That nation would continue to rise up against nation. But He also had no illusion about the purpose of His coming. He said, “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”(Luke 4:18-19).
In a world that harbors pervasive evil, we must continue to pray and work for the release and rescue of these girls in Nigeria while we seek to establish justice and righteousness around the world.