India (MNN) — Rights don’t match up with reality in India. When the United Nations established International Human Rights Day in 1950, India was among the founding parties. But today, India is one of the world’s biggest sources of social evil: human trafficking, child labor, and Christian persecution, to name a few.
“The Kingdom of God is about justice, and if people don’t have their human rights, it says there’s something wrong with us,” says India Partners’ John Sparks.
International Human Rights Day and the Body of Christ
International Human Rights Day was designed to call attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which establishes fundamental human rights that should be honored and protected everywhere.
Inherent rights like equality, freedom from slavery, freedom of religion, and others are routinely violated in India. For example, while it’s been “officially” wiped out, India’s age-old caste system continues to dictate social, economic, and educational standing based on class. Families on the lower end of the social strata are stuck in abject poverty. Women and girls born into India’s lowest caste are most likely to fall victim to human trafficking.
Forced labor and sex slavery are the driving force behind India’s human trafficking market, and approximately 16 million people are held in sex slavery.
India Partners works with local believers to restore dignity to those whose rights have been violated and meet physical needs on various levels. The Gospel is woven throughout each project.
“It’s a real long-term commitment that we make to these families,” notes Sparks.
For example, when a woman is rescued from sex slavery, believers walk with her throughout each step of recovery: taking care of health needs, finding a safe place to live, learning sustainable job skills, discovering Christ through Bible studies and church.
In doing so, Sparks says India Partners expresses God’s heart in both word and deed.
“In Isaiah, it says ‘the Lord loves justice,'” he states. “There’s something wrong with my relationship with God if I’m not concerned about justice.”
International Human Rights Day and you
As you stand with India Partners in prayer for this issue and for the at-risk people they help, be ready to respond. As William Wilberforce famously stated, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”
“Whether I ignore it or I read [the information], God still holds me responsible for it because it’s there, it’s available for us [to know],” Sparks reiterates.
“When we pray for such things, God’s going to say, ‘Ok, you’re the man who’s going to fill in that need’.”
“Many of these things relate to human rights,” Sparks notes.
“If you help a woman go to sewing school and get a sewing machine, that allows her to put food on the table and clothes on her children’s backs, and that essential human right of self-sufficiency is restored.”