Impacts of Global Christian Engagement on Economic Development vis-a-vis Human Trafficking Elimination Efforts

Rachel Ellen King


Christians have engaged in economic development projects ever since the early days of the colonial period. The gap between religion and economics has only increased over time as groups from both fields are guilty of distancing themselves and their work from the categorical “other.” Such a tendency perpetuates mutual misunderstandings of the opposite members’ motivations for involvement in economic enterprises. We have seen an unprecedented response of NGOs to global issues such as poverty and human trafficking, however these problems are too big for organizations to attempt to tackle alone or unilaterally. Now more than ever, there is a need for multiparty communication, coordination, cooperation and collaboration efforts between faith-based organizations and their secular counterparts. This paper argues that current trends toward global economic development are a direct result of earlier Christian colonial missions, thus religious rhetoric is a constitutive element of contemporary discourses on development. This paper pays particular attention to faith dialogues and interfaith commitments--or lack thereof--regarding anti-trafficking initiatives worldwide.


economics; development; international; trafficking; organizations; faith; secular; NGO

Full Text:



Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Jean and Alexander Heard Library System, and the Office of Innovation through Technology.