You expect fashion to go in and out of fashion. After all, it’s called fashion for a reason. But what always amazes me is how causes seem to go in and out of fashion. I mean if people are homeless in Haiti, shouldn’t it be important to care until the problem is solved, not just until something new comes along?
Right now the cause de jour is human slavery. Articles and workshops are everywhere. I am not saying it’s not a worthy cause. I’ve blogged about it myself and attended workshops. I just don’t want to see it fade off the scene, like so many other causes, when something new and shiny comes along. Maybe it won’t, if you and I get involved and become part of the solution.
Today I am sharing a guest blog from Diane Adams, a friend of mine, on how she got involved in working to free slaves. Here are her thoughts:
Two years ago, I read a book
called Just Courage by Gary
Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is an organization
that combats injustice and modern-day slavery around the world.
After reading the book and
learning about the atrocities that go on in the world, I couldn’t just go on
with life as usual. I did some research and learned things like:
- There are 27 million
- 600,000 to 800,000
people are trafficked across international borders each year.
- 50% of trafficking
victims are minors.
- The average age of
entry in prostitution is 11 to 14 years old.
I learned that there were
slaves in India working in rice mills, in Africa working in brick factories,
and in the United States working in forced labor. And all around the world
there were young girls, and even boys, forced into the sex trade.
As I read accounts of
victims and survivors, I began to wonder—What if my teenage daughter were sex trafficked or our family lived in a developing country and was enslaved
by powerful tyrants? How would I feel if no one sought and rescued me, but went
on with daily life, enjoying freedom without giving any thought or concern for
me, an oppressed victim?
I kept noticing verses in
the Bible in which God is described as a god of justice and felt strongly that
the Church is called to act to promote justice in our community, nation, and
world. But I also think the average churchgoer, like me, is unaware of the
issue of human trafficking and how widespread it is.
I encourage people to learn
more about this issue. Read a book such as Just Courage or learn from websites such as
www.notforsalecampaign.org, www.ijm.org, or www.iast.net. Stay abreast of
proposed U.S. legislation on this issue by visiting www.polarisproject.org and write to
legislators asking their support of anti-trafficking laws.
Also, become aware of the
products you buy and the businesses you patronize, being sure you are
purchasing fair-trade goods not made by slave labor. Another key way to make a
difference in this area is to volunteer to work with at-risk populations in the
community so they don’t fall prey to traffickers. Big Brother/Big Sisters,
local shelters, after-school programs, and foster care are good organizations
Finally, people can help
fight slavery by financially supporting anti-trafficking organizations. There
are many to choose from, and you may be surprised to find that one or two are
nearby. Do some investigating and discover these local groups—you may decide to
In the 1800s, the African
slave trade was a huge business, integrated in the cultures, businesses, and
economics of America and Europe. Yet it was abolished because people’s eyes
were opened to its evilness, and they chose to speak up against it.
There is an abolition
movement going on in our world today, and it’s gaining momentum. Take the time
to learn more and consider how you can help fight for the oppressed.
If you would like to ask Diane any questions, please feel free to place them in the comments section and I will see that she gets them (and answers!).
This month’s Fine Living Lancaster also had an informative article on modern slavery. To read it, click the link to access the PDF and go to page 78 of the PDF (76 of the actual magazine) for the article “Ending Modern Slavery.” Then, like Diane, decide what you need to do to be involved. And don’t give up, even when slavery is no longer the cause de jour.