Advent Day 12 – Children at Risk
“Refugee and migrant children are particularly vulnerable to violence….
It was estimated in 2016 that three quarters of children aged 14-17 years arriving in Italy through the Mediterranean route had been subject to exploitative practices, such as being held or forced to work against their will. Data showed that in Central America and the Caribbean, as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa, children represented over 60 percent of trafficking victims.” *
Refugee and internally displaced children are especially vulnerable to exploiters .
This situation, and the above statistics, should remind us of Psalm 10:
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
When the children around Bethlehem were killed by Herod’s command, a wail went up in the land. It called to mind the cry of the parents whose children were lost during the siege of Jerusalem and subsequent exile in Jeremiah’s time. We too should lament the exploitation of children in the world today, and pledge to work for justice and safety.
Read: Jeremiah 31:1-17; Matthew 2:16-23
Pray: Join Jeremiah and Rachel in mourning the experience of exploited children in our world. Add your tears to theirs.
* “Faith Action for Children on the Move,” Global Partners Forum, General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Oct 2018.
Our vision is to help people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this together with the church, both globally, and locally in Canada.