Symposium Introduction


Drenda Butler
Elizabeth Schick
Joerg Rieger
Amy Levad
Vincent Lloyd




Is there life beyond slavery? In the past twenty years, there has been an explosion of research related to human trafficking. However, very little of it has examined the moral issues that survivors face after they are freed, or that aftercare workers face as they help survivors try to live a life outside of bondage. And there has been almost nothing written on how the tools of moral and political theology might offer insight for Christians who wish to help survivors live a normal life after enslavement. This book hopes to address this gap in the discussion. Drawing on over fifty interviews with survivors, aftercare workers, and human trafficking specialists from his field work in India, Chris Gooding confronts difficult questions that arise during rehabilitation. Why do so many survivors of trafficking end up walking back into bondage? What might life after slavery look like for survivors who helped enslave other people? How can we build antislavery coalitions that keep survivors’ voices at the center? Gooding looks at all these questions through the eschatological hope that Christians have that the Messiah will one day break every chain and free all people from all forms of bondage.


Reviews and Endorsements


“This is a book for the many who are yet to take slavery (both past and present) seriously as a theological problem for Christian faith and witness. It is also a book for those who treat addressing human trafficking as an opportunity for evangelical messianism. . . . Gooding has given us the most theologically substantive treatment of human trafficking currently available. This book will quickly find its way into a wide variety of syllabi, and it will stay there for many years.”—Willie James Jennings, Yale Divinity School

“Gooding’s work is a difficult read, not because of style or argument; it is beautifully written and compellingly argued. It is difficult because he draws attention to realities from which we would rather turn away. Without discounting the work of previous generations of abolitionists, Gooding reminds us that slavery is still with us. This work stands in the best of abolitionist Christianity and is a clarion call as to why we still need that tradition. It is a must-read.”—D. Stephen Long, Southern Methodist University

“Through sensitive field research, Chris Gooding shows how modern-day slavery offers its own perverse theology—‘warped portraits’ of love, justice, and God. Advocates for today’s enslaved human beings need good theology to offer accounts of love, justice, and God that can help survivors make sense of life after liberation. Through Scripture, ethics, and restorative justice, good theology for life after liberation is exactly what Gooding has to offer.”—Kate Ward, Marquette University

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