When I was young, it was so common in my village and the neighboring villages to buy a wife from Yunnan. Although it sounded shocking to me, I had no idea of what human trafficking was nor did I know it was a crime. Not to mention that human beings who have the image of God, deserving dignity, freedom and the right of being free from fear, can not be sold or bought like commodities and animals.
Later, I often heard that the wives ran away after being bought. At that time, I was confused and wondered why they did not live a good life by running away since they were married. So, in my mind, I condemned the running wives for causing the buyers' losses of both the person and money. Then I did not know that the buyers were criminals, the offenders, and running away was the women’s choice of struggle, an accusation of crime, and a desire for freedom. We never thought about whether the "business" was against their will.
A few years later, I heard that certain men could not get married due to poverty. I asked my mother why they did not simply buy a wife. She said there was nowhere from which they could buy one. I said they could go to Yunnan to buy one. Mom said that the condition in Yunnan was better so it was impossible to buy them. We just talked about it casually and carelessly – although it was none of our business at all. We had no idea that it was a sin. Except for us, the whole village was like that. Now thinking back on it, all of us who heard of such crimes were rather ignorantly indifferent spectators who were guilty of the sufferings of those abducted women.
I heard that in those days some men bought a new wife after they first ran away. It was also said that some women were traffickers themselves, selling one woman to many bachelors to cheat them out of lots of money. Besides these, I also heard of a few cases of “all-is-good” in which the men and their wives lived so well that the women were reluctant to go home even if their parents found them. The wives said that their husbands were kind to them, and since they had children and the living conditions were better than home, they were unwilling to go back. However, I still did not know that even in these “all-is-good” cases, the crime of women trafficking could not be erased. Now thinking back, people can really be ignorant to the point of being insensitive and ruthless, and this ignorance is also a sin!
When did I start to know these things were wrong? When did I start to know that I committed the sin of indifference out of my ignorance? It was after believing in Jesus, after reading the bible, after learning to think, after pursuing the truth, and no longer accepting any information in its entirety. I saw the concern of the Lord Jesus in the Bible for people, for people sitting in the dark and in the shadow of death. Slowly, when I learned to stop seeing the tragedy of suffering, I was glad, moved, and grateful that I could still have a peaceful time, but I also had some emotions and doubts. As I thought of what God asked Cain in the Garden of Eden, “Where is your brother Abel?” I did not imagine myself answering as Cain did, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?” God chose to call us and let us live in this world not to promote and cheer for positive energy, but to witness the light so that people who have never known what the light is may know it. The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. (Matthew 4:16)
Note: This article is originally published by the Gospel Times and written by a freelancer who is a pastor in Jiangsu. The opinions in this article represent the author’s position for readers’ reference.