Human Trafficking is a modern global crisis…it’s even happening in your backyard.

There are more people enslaved today than at any previous point in history. Let that sink in.

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that there are more than 45 million people enslaved today. That’s more than 5 times the population of Bangkok, NYC or London. That’s also about 4x the number of slaves who were ever impacted by the African Slave Trade!!

To make matters worse, human trafficking generates more than $32 BILLION per year. That figure is double what the NFL brings in, so lots of people are profiting off of buying and selling other people. As the Bible teaches, the love of money is the root of all evil. Greed is a powerful manipulator to do many evil things.

Slaves today may not wear visible chains, but they are often powerless to overcome their oppressors. These slave holders are busy exploiting their vulnerability of their slaves. They wear the psychological chains of fear.  Many modern slaves are simply from poor families seeking a better life and they look for a good job that turns out to be a cruel trap. Once you’re involved, your captors often use the threat of force or violence against you or your family to keep you in line.

Modern human slavery today appears in two primary forms: 1) Forced Labor (19%) and 2) Sex trafficking (~80%). The majority of the modern slave population (60%) lives in 5 countries: China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, but there are tens of thousands in our own country. Chicago and Houston in particular are national centers for human trafficking.

WHAT IS SLAVERY?? Modern slavery is a form of brutal exploitation when a person is being forced to work against their will for little or no pay. Slavery denies human dignity and devalues a person’s worth to that of a beast of burden. This is true of both the child forced to work in a brick factory and the 14 year old girl who was abducted to work as a sex slave.

WHY DOES SLAVERY STILL EXIST even though it’s illegal almost everywhere?  The problem is not the law; the problem is enforcement. This means that the problem is ultimately in the human heart. Slavery will always be a part of our world as long as we view some people as more valuable than others. Slavery is not primarily about racism, considering most modern and historical slavery has been about enslaving our brothers, the people who look like us. This happens because we don’t live out the belief that all men are created equal and endowed by God with certain inalienable rights. All people were born to be free. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty.” Slavery exists because greedy people deny human dignity to others for their own gain.

We cannot remain silent. Our generation cannot sit by and ignore the growing problem. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” In order to confront the evils of modern global slavery, we must continue to educate ourselves, learn from historic abolitionists, and spread the word. Here are some resources to get you started:

Finally, Amazing Grace is a powerful film about the historic battle of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British empire. If we want to abolish slavery today, we must learn from his example and his sacrifice. We must 1) promote awareness, 2) pray, and 3) give generously.