Most people think (if they stop to think about it) that slavery ended in 1865. Sadly, that is false. Human trafficking (aka modern day slavery) is the second largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. In 2014, by Presidential Proclamation, January was declared National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. By definition:
- Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery involving the use of force, fraud and/or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.
- Human trafficking does not require movement of people across borders.
- Human trafficking can be forced labor, sexual exploitation, or in the case of minors, sexual exploitation without the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
Most people think (if they stop to think about it) that human trafficking occurs out of sight and/or in faraway places. Sadly, that is also false. It happens around the world, but it also happens in our backyards, our schools, our malls, our families. No one is exempt from risk.
And most people think (if they stop to think about it) that there is nothing they can do to stem the tide of human trafficking. This too is false.
As believers, we are mandated to seek justice for all.
… what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Of the things that God requires , “doing justice” is in the top three!
Four years ago, I was just starting to learn what human trafficking is. From my story, Somebody’s Daughter, (published in Chicken Soup for the Soul) which tells of my journey into abolition work:
I knew so little about an issue that was so big. I was afraid and wondered what we could do. After all, there were just two of us. That phrase “just two of us” reminded me of a Bible story where the prophet Elisha and his servant were facing an army of evil-doers. The servant feared that there were just two of them, but the prophet answered, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16) I realized that even though there are 29.8 million caught in slavery, there are over 7 BILLION people in the world. And most of those people would be opposed to slavery. IF they knew about it. And if they knew what to do about it.
Since our humble beginning, we at Justice Network have our mandate: to raise awareness, work for prevention, support survivors, AND mostly – to let people know that they too can do something about it!
For example, coffee and chocolate are two industries that are notorious for using slave labor. If everyone bought fair trade or slave free coffee/chocolate, the industry would only make slavery-free products. Look for the logo or visit our website that provides lists of all kinds of items that are produced slavery-free.
Of all people on earth, we the church should be the most proactive in spreading the word. Human trafficking is an abomination to the God who came to set the captives free.
Encourage your pastor to speak about trafficking this month. There is a wealth of information online including sample sermons and other resources. Visit global organizations like IJM or A21. Or seek out local resources like Justice Network in New Jersey.
Edmund Burke who famously said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” also said, “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he would did nothing because he could only do a little.”
Do a little, my friends. Feel free to contact me for information. You can be the difference in someone’s life!
- So – What is YOUR Word?
- Spending Quiet Time With God