Scripture engagement and the fight against trafficking and exploitation in Europe

Scripture engagement and the fight against trafficking and exploitation in Europe

By Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag, European Freedom Network – Church Action group


People who have been exploited often have a complicated relationship with God. If God is powerful, why didn’t He prevent my abuse? Where was God when all of these bad things were happening? There are vulnerable questions, too: how do I talk to God about rape? Does God condemn me for what I have done?


A local anti-trafficking ministry in Eastern Europe says that the women they serve “all know their ‘price’ (the amount of money they can make per night, how much they have been bought and sold for, material goods and assets purchased at their expense and paid by them with shame, fear, disgust and suffering)…but none of the women [is] able to tell us what their value as a human being is.”


Does God have something to say to survivors of exploitation? The European Freedom Network (EFN) and Biblica, the International Bible Society, are collaborating with anti-trafficking groups on a Bible study tool for survivors of human trafficking and commercial exploitation in Europe. The tool will offer a trauma-informed framework to help people who have been exploited to read and understand the Bible.


Research tells us that a faith journey can facilitate healing, recovery, and flourishing for survivors of trauma and exploitation.


For survivors of trafficking, as for all of us, faith in Christ can offer meaning in the face of adversity, and research done in Asia shows that spirituality “increases and augments perseverance, adaptability in adversity, resiliency, empathy towards others, stronger relationships, and hope for the future” in those recovering from trafficking and trauma.


Now faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. As Paul asks in Romans 10 (The Message), “But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted?”


EFN and Biblica want women to see themselves and their stories in Scripture, and create the opportunity for them to meet God there: a God who sees, cares, and restores. Mindful of the challenges that trauma creates for survivors, the Bible study guide will include short Scripture passages and engaging tools for interpreting the text.


Most of Scripture was written to people on the margins. We look forward to making the timeless message of God’s reconciling, transforming love accessible in new ways for today’s audience.


The European Freedom Network, EFN, is a Christian community of over 250 organisations in 44 countries that exists to fight human trafficking and commercial exploitation in Europe and to seek the restoration of survivors. EFN is working to build a bridge to freedom across Europe, and believes that the church has an essential role in that task.


In 2009, the International Bible Society changed its name to Biblica. Today, Biblica partners with like-minded organizations in 55 countries to accomplish its vision: to see the Bible be used by God to redeem the lost, restore the broken and inspire the Body of Christ to be a community of hope for the world.


For more information, please get in touch with Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag at .

[1] Hester, T.J., Kong, S. and Miles, G.M. (2020). Barriers to Sexually Exploited Cambodian Women Integrating in to Churches: Perspectives of Sexually Exploited Women and the Christian Community. Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence, 5(1).

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