Today, I join my voice with many for the End It Movement‘s Shine a Light on Slavery Day.
I want to end it for all the upwards of 27 million people in slavery in the world today – more than in the whole of history, and it is the fastest growing criminal enterprise. Shockingly, only one percent of victims are ever rescued.
Let’s end it:
For the child slaves on cocoa farms, who never get to taste a bar of chocolate, let alone freedom.
For the children, young girls and young boys sold as sex slaves in Asian cities.
For the women and girls trafficked from motel to motel, city to city, given no rest, raped over and over.
For the adults and children who are enslaved to make clothing or technology or anything.
For the Eastern European girls promised good jobs in Western Europe only to find they have been tricked and trafficked as prostitutes.
For women in North America trafficked as prostitutes in the city by night then taken to farms to serve migrant workers by day.
For migrant workers who find themselves subject to slave labour in agriculture.
For the families enslaved in brick factories or similar in India and other countries.
For girls who are groomed by a ‘boyfriend’, taken and find themselves victims of sex trafficking.
For child soldiers.
For those in domestic servitude.
For the kidnap victims in North Africa.
For the young boys taken from their families and forced to work as fishermen in Ghana.
For the children sold to gangs by their families and then trafficked from country to country, kept in appalling conditions and forced to pick pocket or worse.
For the mothers and fathers who don’t know where their children have been taken.
For the children who don’t know where their parents have been taken.
For every victim who thinks they have been forgotten.
For the millions who have no voice and whose stories we don’t know.
The number may be overwhelming, but each individual contained in them has a story. Every trafficked person has had their freedom to pursue their own ambitions, their hopes and dreams, shattered and are treated as nothing more than a commodity.
The problems are complex, but it is not beyond us to end slavery together. The starting point is awareness, but there is much more we can do even beyond giving money. We can educate and advocate. We can join with organizations in working to bring change in our communities, countries and across the world (A21 Campaign, IJM, Made in a Free World, The Joy Smith Foundation, Stop the Traffik, World Vision, to name a few). We can teach our children at home and at school to be aware of the problem and to become abolitionists themselves. We can teach our boys (and girls) not to objectify the opposite sex, and to recognise the warning signs so that they or their friends do not become victims or perpetrators.
We can shop ethically. Buy fair trade. Ask questions about the supply lines of our favourite stores and brands.
We can pray. Don’t underestimate this one.
Let’s end it together.