Incredible perseverance paid off for a team from the International Justice Mission in Cebu, Philippines. After an eight year legal struggle, two traffickers were finally brought to justice.
The difficult case began in 2008, when a teenage girl and two young women were recruited and ferried to work at a brothel on an island far from their home. When they arrived and realized they had been trapped and would be forced to provide sexual services to customers, they escaped.
International Justice Mission, a Christian organization founded on God's Word and the power of prayer, offered aftercare services to help the two girls settle back into the rhythms of life in freedom, and took up what would turn out to be nearly a decade-long battle for justice. As the case moved to trial, it highlighted what was broken in the justice system. Hearings were frequently cancelled when a key party—the judge, the defense counsel, a witness—failed to show up. The courts were backlogged, and hearings would be rescheduled three or four months apart.
The trial was painstakingly slow, but IJM social workers were encouraged by the progress they saw in the lives of the two young women. After spending time in aftercare homes for sex trafficking survivors, both young women moved back into supportive communities where they are now thriving. Finally in November 2016, IJM announced: "On November 14, 2016 two traffickers were sentenced to 20 years in prison. This conviction brings closure and affirms these survivors of their worth. It also sends a message to other brothel owners and traffickers across the Philippines—justice will be served, no matter how long it takes."
Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Justice; Injustice—This illustration shows how all followers of Jesus should fight for justice for the oppressed. (2) God's justice; God's wrath—But it also shows how imperfect human justice is. We long for the day when "justice will be served" not just by human courts but by the Living God.
Adapted from Susan Ager, "This Wouldn't Be The First Time a Child's Photo Changed History," National Geographic (9-3-16)