Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



A Paper Presented at 2nd Annual Conference on Human Trafficking, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, October 2010. Copyright 2010 Julie Waters.


This paper seeks to connect the biblical narrative of Joseph, a story of slavery and redemption, to modern day human trafficking through the lenses of current and pragmatic legal and theological implications. The two-fold purpose of the paper is to use Joseph as a case study to better understand US anti-human trafficking laws and then provide victims of human trafficking with biblical hope that can be gleaned through a theological understanding of the narrative of Joseph. To fully understand Joseph’s role as a slave and the interplay of modern day implications, the paper first examines the institution of slavery in the ancient Near East. Then, this paper uses the narrative of Joseph as a way to unpack US laws pertaining to human trafficking. Lastly, victims of human trafficking can draw hope from Joseph by understanding the theology underlying Joseph’s story.