People matter to Jesus. They matter because He became a man to save them, because He loved and even died for them, because they are created in His image. And because people matter to Jesus, they matter to us as Christians too.

But not everyone agrees, and some even show bold disregard for the life and well-being of those around them. Statistics say that 27 million people are ensnared in human trafficking around the world, and more than 17,500 are trafficked into the United States each year. We say it’s time for us as Lutherans to rededicate ourselves to ending this practice and to caring for those around us.

Even as small children, we learned from our Small Catechism that we do “not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” We have before us a chance to show that exact help! The government has taken a positive step in that direction by passing several pieces of legislation that enable human care for immigrants who are victims of trafficking and violence. But there is still much to be done. We started our work in 2010 when we, as The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, made a public statement about how important this issue is to us by passing Convention Resolution 6-07A, “To Support Efforts to End Human Trafficking/Slavery.”

Following that resolution, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), through which the LCMS extends mercy to migrants and refugees, developed helpful resources on human trafficking. It’s my hope that these materials will be useful as you discover ways that you can help and support, in every physical need, victims of human trafficking. Here are a few ways that you can start showing that care right now.

  • Pray that our Lord would show mercy to the victims of human trafficking. Pray also that He would show justice to those who enslave others and that He would hearten the police and officials empowered to stop this abuse.
  • Download a petition to President Obama and encourage your family, friends, co-workers, pastor and fellow church members to sign it. Then send your signed petitions to LIRS by April 15, 2013, urging President Obama to aggressively tackle this crime throughout his second term.
  • Download “Resolved,” a Bible study on human trafficking that builds on the 2010 Synod convention anti-human trafficking resolution. Use this Bible study with your church and school groups to discuss faithful action. More educational materials are available at

Please join with us in sharing Christ’s love and mercy to all His children, because if people matter to Jesus, they also matter to us.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod