“You gave away girls like prizes: not yet women, but baptized. All for some petty temporal gain that will pass in the very next instant.” Patrick of Ireland
Soldiers of a man named Coroticus in Ireland raided a community there and killed or carried off a host of people who were newly baptized by Patrick. He wrote a letter to these men that we still have, addressing Coroticus and all of them as gangsters. And in the early 400’s, Patrick spoke to the issue of sexual trafficking that still plagues our world.
One striking element of Patrick’s letter is, I understand, that it is the first written voice against slavery in history. It’s the first clear statement made by a human being that slavery is an abomination. I also understand that, Patrick’s letter and his confession are the first Christian voice after Jesus to speak and demonstrate the worth of women plainly.
The experience of Patrick, who relates how his father’s home was attacked and that he along with others from the household were taken and made slaves, gave him the first-hand knowledge of despair. He would understand the person taken from another country, that is brought to America and placed in a brothel, a strip club, a mansion and forced to sell their bodies. Today, the average life expectancy for someone who is stolen and confined in such a situation is 7 years from the time of their capture.
This plagues my thoughts. I wonder how we can still allow it but I know I live in a world that can easily avoid such things. Because I don’t visit such places and I’m not the kind of person with friends who would invite me to them, I can easily get on with my life and not pay attention. But God’s Spirit places them on my heart and so I pray for those who are trapped and I support those that I discover who are doing something about it. With “enough to do” in my life, I still cannot escape the gnawing reality.
There are people who are doing something. “Created” – a ministry in Tampa, “Northstar” – a ministry I’m just learning about up here in Lancaster, and I’m excited to learn about them and to support them as I can. Check out “Northstar” at http://www.northstarinitiative.org.
Patrick is someone who did something. He sent an envoy to ask the war band soldiers to respond. He says the envoy got laughed in the face. You can tell he feels like he is flailing as he writes to men he knew, directly. And he speaks to them as human beings. We don’t know if this letter made a difference, but we do know it was saved.
Someone in the community of Coroticus thought it should be saved… that suggests that it caught someone’s attention. It suggests that someone may have responded. Maybe, someone back 1700 years ago could not escape the gnawing reality that God knows the names of those who are trafficked and that they have worth.
We can do something.