According to a recent report, 5.4 million children live in “institutions that cannot meet their needs and [that] neglect their rights.” These orphanages are well known for exploiting and harming these innocent children (The Guardian, December 14, 2021). This well-documented report reviewed evidence from 84 organizations in 45 nations and highlighted how orphanages are using children to make money—through forced begging, prostitution, and entertaining potential foreign donors. Children are also sold or rented out to work for businesses like cocoa farms and gold mines. Some children are even purchased from disadvantaged families and sold to donors at a profit.
In some orphanages, as many as 80 percent of the “orphans” are not truly orphaned, their family status forged by orphanage operators. While the overall number of orphaned children in many nations has declined in recent decades, the number in orphanages has drastically increased. In Uganda, for example, the number of children in orphanages has increased 55-fold since the late 1990s. And in Cambodia, the number of residential-care orphanages has increased by 75 percent in the last ten years.
The Bible warns that, as the end of the age approaches, an increasing number of people will be “unloving” and will also be “lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3:1–4). It is heart-wrenching to watch how children, innocent and wholly dependent on the adults they trust, are increasingly seen as a commodity—a mere product—by unscrupulous and ungodly people. Followers of Jesus Christ should be motivated to pray fervently for God’s Kingdom to come! The reign of Christ will be a time when children can play safely in the streets, watched over by loving parents and grandparents (Zechariah 8:4–5). The future is not without hope—even for children! To learn more, watch “Hope for the Future.”