Modern day abolitionists rescue people
Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2016
“Everyone can do something to help stop slavery and human trafficking,” according to the website of I Am a Modern-Day Abolitionist.
There are an estimated 35.9 million people held in slavery today. Children and women represent almost one-half of all forced labor victims. India has the largest estimated number of people in slavery, between 10.7 and 12.7 million. These facts come from the International Justice Mission, a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world.
There are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade worldwide. Sex trafficking is a modern form of slavery. Sex trafficking drives significant profits for perpetrators – a subset of the $150 billion market value of illicit human trafficking.
Slavery is defined as one person controlling others who are forced to work without pay under threat of violence and/or being able to walk away. These modern-day slaves work in places such as fields, brothels, homes, mines, and restaurants.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) has spent nearly 20 years on the front lines fighting some of the worst forms of violence in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia. IJM partners with local authorities to first, rescue victims. They identify people trapped in slavery, partner with local authorities to conduct rescue operations and ensure each victim is legally emancipated and receives government support.
Secondly, IJM brings criminals to justice. They advocate for police reports to be filed against owners or traffickers, and support prosecution of slave owners. Thirdly, IJM restores survivors. They create individualized care plans for each person to respond to trauma and pursue dignifying jobs and educational opportunities.
Lastly, IJM strengthens justice systems. They provide hands-on mentoring for law enforcement, government officials and partner organizations. They also create social demand and advocate with state and national leaders to make ending slavery a top priority. Since 2006, IJM has rescued more than 23,000 people from violence and secured the conviction of more than 800 criminals.
What can you and I do to abolish slavery? Be aware of people in your community and watch for the warning signs of an individual who is being trafficked. You can find a list of those warning signs at the website Sharedhope.org. You’ll find a list of products typically made by slave labor at www.freetheslaves.net, so you and I will not be supporting slavery unknowingly. We need to pray for those who are enslaved that they will know the freedom we enjoy.
There’s another form of slavery, spiritually speaking, from which every person in the world needs to be set free. Jesus came to earth and died, so that “we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:7). Peter tells us that a person is a slave to whatever has mastered him or her (2 Peter 2:19).
Jesus said He came “to proclaim liberty to the captives….to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). We, who know the Good News of the Gospel, must speak up and share that Truth with others in bondage to sin. The Truth will set them free.
– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.