4 Kinds of Poverty

As we prepare for work in the world of child sex-trafficking, as we consider life in another country in very different living conditions, as we mentally try to wrap our thoughts around a community of people where it is culturally acceptable to exploit children; it has become increasingly important to us to learn some perspectives that will assist us in reaching those lost in the idea that human life has no particular inherent value.  What is it that would lead a person to think that it is “OK” to entrap, enslave, coerce or by any means force a child to be abused by another person? Something is missing in a person so disposed.  What is the missing thing(s)?

trafficking stat photoWe know that man is created in the image of God and thereby each man has intrinsic value as a God created being, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 ESV”. Without this basic concept, there is no reason we can expect someone to view the life of another as something of value.  If one man is to see something other than monetary or exploitive value in another man it must come from this basic biblical principle. Man was created to “subdue the earth” and it is an easy leap to include his fellow man as something to be subdued, unless there comes that knowledge that my fellow man has some higher level value.  Without the knowledge of God, his creation of all things, his order for all things and his plan for all things, without a correct view of God, man has no particular or unique value.

This is why we, as believers, must share the Gospel.  We simply must.

As this journey of preparation continues for us, we are trying to gain perspective and insight.  We cannot expect someone to behave as though they understand God and his creative and redemptive plan when they simply don’t know.  Gaining some tools to understand the perspective of those we will be seeking to work with seems invaluable.  Let me share something that we have come across that has impacted my thinking enormously.  A book titled, “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

I am not going to give a book review here but I simply want to point out four kinds of poverty that I see from these authors (I am simplifying for sake of this post – the authors use different terms)

  1. Spiritual Poverty – not knowing the one true God.
  2. Internal Poverty – not knowing that “I” have value just because I am made in the image of God.
  3. Community Poverty – groups of people living as self-serving agents where exploitation is a means of survival and no one is responsible for working for the general good of all.
  4. Material Poverty – lacking the substance of goods necessary to survive.

If real change is to occur, if exploitation of people in slavery, in this case children entrapped in sex-trafficking is to be abolished, it will not be through the law alone.  It will not be through hunger elimination alone, it will not be through only changing what we see.  It will come from collectively addressing all four kinds of poverty and it will only be sustained by addressing Spiritual Poverty.

The work of AIM (Agape International Missions) as I see us engaging is to Prevent|Rescue|Restore|Reintegrate children from sex-trafficking and while doing this, to bring a sustainable, reproducible change to the culture.  That is the work we are called to engage in. That is the work we are committed to seeing happen. That is why we will shortly leave for a two-year assignment in Asia.

We are thankful for your support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *