From humanly trafficked to humanely freed
A Christian Science perspective: A mother seeking a better paid job overseas in order to provide for her family found herself trapped in a position with no way out. Here's how her faith in God came to the rescue.
She just couldn’t be a slave anymore. What she’d learned about how good God is, and that He and His goodness are everywhere, and that she was loved by Spirit in every way, didn’t jibe with her enslavement to the fraudulent contract that had enticed her to leave her family and home in the Philippines with promises of good pay, pleasant accommodations, and a round-trip ticket home every two years.
Maria (not her real name) had been in a country in the Middle East three years when I arrived almost a year ago. She cleaned apartments and did laundry six days a week, 10 hours a day – sometimes longer. She typifies mothers from impoverished economies who leave their children with loving family members and send money back home so the whole family can finally meet basic expenses. They come from all over Asia as well as Europe and the United States.
Maria hadn’t seen her three children or parents since she left home. Her employer hadn’t honored his agreement to provide a plane ticket or to give her time off to go. And he didn’t pay overtime, despite local labor laws.
I’d seen Maria, up with the sun, scrubbing the parking lot with a push broom and a hose, washing away the thick dust from the shamals, relentless dust storms that dampen spirits and visibility for miles, sometimes day after day. One day, I was walking our corgis on a nearby empty lot amid a sea of high-rise apartment buildings, and she came up to me. “Hello, madam,” she said, tugging on my sleeve. “Do you need a maid?”
I hesitated. Our apartment wasn’t that big, and I was keen on saving money. But after a few weeks of sleeve-tugging, she was cleaning our apartment better and faster than higher-priced maid services in the States.
Once while she was dusting my office, things got very quiet. I found her reading a brightly colored printout of myBibleLesson, the young thinker’s version of the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson.