Sunday, January 1st marks the first day of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Throughout the month “Grace to You” articles will inform about modern day slavery, what’s being done to rescue victims, the measures taken to prevent it, how survivors are working to help others, and our role in the fight to end it.
But What is Modern Day Slavery?
Modern day slavery refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, or abuse of power.
Most people have heard of human trafficking, but may not understand what the term really means. Human trafficking does not require that people be taken from the place they live. Most people are trafficked in or near the places their homes. Many people are trafficked by family or friends. Others are born into slavery
Human trafficking may be sex trafficking or labor trafficking. When a person is compelled by force, fraud or coercion to engage in commercial sex acts for someone else’s financial benefit that is sex trafficking. A child engaging in commercial sex is always a victim of trafficking. Online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is a growing form to child sex trafficking. Labor trafficking may be forced labor, bonded labor, domestic servitude of adults or children, or unlawful use of child soldiers. Globally, labor trafficking is the most prevalent form of human trafficking, with entire families often being enslaved for generations. Recruitment and use of child soldiers is also considered human trafficking.
This is a hard topic to consider but it is important that we do. The suffering of people breaks God’s heart. Shouldn’t it break ours? As Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, the world's largest international anti-slavery organization, has said, “God's people are his plan to respond to the needs of the oppressed in our world.”