We all know.
We’ve seen photos, read articles, and watched the news. We know slavery still exists. “It’s really too bad,” we say as we relax on our couches, and then we continue scrolling through Facebook and dreaming about a vacation to the Bahamas.
Yes, we know slavery exists, but usually it’s a vague, hazy idea in our heads without any clear lines or faces. Kidnapping may come to mind, but in reality that’s only a small part of it.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is defined as the use of “force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.”
This could be the Vietnamese girl who takes a “job offer” at a restaurant in America. It’s only after arriving that she discovers miserable living conditions, a grueling workday, beatings for disobedience, and a paltry salary that will never lift her from debt bondage. It could be the man who showers his girlfriend with affection and then manipulates her into sleeping with his friends for cash. It could be the teen model who is tricked into filming porn and then is threatened with death to her or her family if she ever tries to leave.
The far-reaching scope of modern slavery is staggering. Let’s take a look at a few statistics:
There are an estimated 40 million slaves in the world today in 167 countries.
Up to 47 people per day are trafficked into the U.S. from other countries.
26% of today’s slaves are children.
In the U.S. alone, an estimated 100,000 children from ages 10 to 17 years old are enslaved in prostitution, and twice that amount are at risk of the same.
If you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, you’re guilty.
I’m guilty. But as far as slavery goes, it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly you can do. You can’t exactly march into a diamond mine in Angola, snatch an armful of children, and run. So, we tuck these horrors into the back of our minds, along with child brides in Iran and civil war in Syria and heinous oppression in North Korea.
Awareness is the first step to changing the world, but it’s only the first step.
We’re aware, and awareness is not enough. What good is being cognizant of an issue and doing nothing about it? Our generation is quite competent in raising awareness on issues of our day, but the vast majority of humanity stops there. Marches, campaigns, you name it–you can find them in every major city in America. What we rarely see, however, is action, which should be the result of our enlightenment. Sure, occasionally we dig out our wallets. Donating money to worthy causes is great, and praying is even better, but what if I told you there are other things you and I can do to end slavery? Everyday things. Things that don’t require you to hop on the next plane.
When God first began to give me a burden for modern day slaves, I wrestled with that burden for months. “Lord,” I would pray, “who am I? What can I do? If there’s anything I can do, show me!” He answered those prayers. As I began to research, I discovered that, yes, I can do something. Combining those things with my love for writing, I can share those things with you, so YOU can do something too.
Will you take the next step and join the fight?