Archives For slavery

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About a week ago I came across this big announcement from Jason Salamun (via the wonder of Twitter). Project Church is giving away half their budget to end human trafficking & sex slavery globally, serve the poor locally, and help start churches who share their DNA.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have a heart for social justice and ending slavery. I know this budget move isn’t realistic for most churches, but I admire the heart and passion of Jason and Project Church. I think they are blazing a new trail of literally putting their money where their mouth is and I hope it will have a positive impact on the Church – capital “C”.

What do you think about this decision? Could you see your church giving away 10, 20 or 30% to end slavery?

childtraffickingToday is National Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Awareness Day

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Did you know there are 27 millions slaves in the world today? In fact, there are more slaves on earth today than in all the years of the slave trade combined. That’s not to lessen the horrors of the slave trade era, but to show you how horrendous and widespread slavery still is (from Diana Scimone).

Here are the facts about this pandemic – I hope you’ll wrestle, pray over, struggle with and share these:

  • Human trafficking is the 2nd-largest illegal industry on the planet–after illegal drugs. (It used to be #3, but was just moved up.)
  • It is organized crime with networks, funding, resources, routes, and structure.
  • Human trafficking generates billions of dollars a year.
  • It’s the fastest-growing illegal enterprise on earth.
  • You can sell a gun or drug only once, but you can sell a human over and over.
  • Human trafficking is not smuggling. People who are smuggled do so willingly.  There is nothing voluntary about trafficking. It involves force, fraud, and coercion.
  • Trafficking and slavery happens in every country–including yours.
  • About 17,500 foreigners are trafficked into the US from other countries–each year.
  • About 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking in the US, especially in the sex industry.

Want more information?

You can fight trafficking and slavery. More info is here and here. To learn what Born to Fly International is doing to stop child trafficking and slavery, visit www.born2fly.org.

Some say that we could end slavery in 25 years. What do you think?

I recently came across another powerful movie that I’m going to go see here in Dallas. You can watch the trailer HERE. The movie is called “Trade”. I encourage you to go and see it with some friends, classmates, co-workers, people in your small group, etc.. Let it be a catalyst for discussion. I’m trying to do that here in DFW. If you’re near here and want to go with me, just give me a shout.

Here is something from the movie’s website:

The practice of slavery in the US is something most people think ended with the 13th Amendment in 1865, but in recent years it has returned in an even more virulent form. Fueled by the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries, new technologies like the internet, and sieve-like borders, the traffic in human beings has become an epidemic of colossal dimensions. The State Department estimates that as many as 800,000 people are trafficked over international frontiers each year, largely for sexual exploitation. Eighty percent are female and over fifty percent are minors. Many people in this country push this atrocity out of their minds, believing that it only occurs in faraway countries like Thailand, Cambodia, the Ukraine and Bosnia. The truth is that the United States has become a large-scale importer of sex slaves. Free the Slaves, America’s largest anti-slavery organization estimates that at least 10,000 people a year are smuggled or duped into this country by sex traffickers.

EXTRA:

One organization that I forgot to mention the other day is World Vision. My wife and I have been supporters of World Vision for 14 years. I encourage you to look into their ministry as well.

This isn’t about me – it’s about them (the 27 millions slaves around the world). God has been stirring in my heart since August and I’ve simply had enough. I’m stirred, moved, angered, disturbed, determined and trying my best to be obedient to my Maker’s call: I am an abolitionist.

This isn’t just a fad or phase – for me, I can’t return to the way I used to be. My eyes have been opened and I vow to spend the rest of my life fighting, praying, serving, rescuing, enlightening, spreading awareness, raising support – whatever small part I can do to be a part of this God-movement.

According to Wikipedia: “Because slavery still exists, with an estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide, a new international abolitionist movement has recently emerged.” I and many others are a part of that movement.

The beautiful thing is that this movement is something that people of all faiths can agree on and join together in. I’m reaching out to my atheist, Morman, Muslim, Jewish and Universalist friends to join me in this movement. Do we each have our own beliefs, doctrines and convictions? Sure. I do not waver in my faith in Christ.

BUT I feel that we can join together in causes around the world: the poor and homelessness, the environment, AIDS, clean water, slavery and human trafficking, etc. These are issues that we all should be concerned with and join together regardless of our differing faith or religious views/backgrounds.

*** 12 things that I’m a part of and committed to work with:

What about you? What has God laid on your heart? Do the things that break His heart break yours? What is He up to in your life these days?
 
PERSONAL:
Today, my beautiful, precious daughter Grace turns 8. Grace is a gift from God and a true blessing in my life.

Are you orange? ORANGE IS THE COLOR OF FREEDOM. Wearing orange shows you’re a part of the movement to stop slavery. 

Also, I had a great phone conversation with Charles Lee from JustOne this week. They are working on some wonderful initiatives to raise awareness and support for some causes that the Church should take seriously. We’re meeting where they headquarter for the Church 2.0 Local Forum in Portland on Nov. 7th. I look forward to hearing more about their ministry as they share at this gathering.

Here are some facts that were printed in my church’s bulletin this past Sunday: The modern practice of human trafficking enslaves 27 million people around the world. This is more than at any other time in history. UNICEF says that most children who are trafficked are “sold” by unsuspecting parents who honestly believe that the children they have just “sold” (most for under $5) will be educated, learn a trade, and be carefully looked after by their new “caretaker” (human trafficker).

Little do the impoverished parents know that their child is likely to be sold several times, moved to other countries, and will become virtually untraceable. The United Nations office on drugs and crime has estimated that the total market value of illicit human trafficking is more than $30 billion dollars per year – a third of this profit coming directly from the sale of individuals.

This is not simply a problem on a foreign shore: there are more slaves in the United States today than ever, including the era of American slavery and the Civil War. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) reported that every ten minutes, a woman or child is trafficked into the United States and forced into labor. The CIA recently reported that as many as 50,000 women and children are brought into this country every year under false pretenses and then forced unwillingly into roles as abused laborers, servants, and prostitutes.

*** I blog about this because this is a huge part of Church 2.0. Church leaders in the 21st Century have to be aware of and battle against social justice issues. What can you do?

  • Donate: I listed some great organizations in my last blog on slavery
  • Get Educated: Check out the links HERE
  • Pray: for the victims of human trafficking
  • Write: Send a letter to your local and state officials asking them to approve stiffer laws against human trafficking.
(Most of the info about trafficking came from the October issue of Relevant magazine, pages 55-56)
 
*** Not For Sale reports that “last week, 150 Abolitionists from across the country gathered in Washington, DC to advocate on behalf of the 27 million people in slavery around the world… To close out this fantastic event, Abolitionists held a candlelight vigil before attending a premier screening of Call + Response, the new independent film that features the work of Not For Sale and its president David Batstone alongside critically acclaimed artists and prominent cultural figures.”
I saw Call + Response earlier this week. WOW>such a good film. Very well done. Amazing music. Very informative. Very moving. A must-see!

 

Do you think that slavery ended with Lincoln? Today I want to share what has been breaking my heart lately. These Church 2.0 Local Forums I’ve hosted around the country have been used by God to stir my heart. God really used the Atlanta one to open my eyes to the problem of child sex trafficking right here in the good ‘ol USA. Since that time I’ve done some research and soul-searching.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in human history? Alltop now has a slavery version. You can find great information and links HERE. In my blog about the Art+Music+Justice Tour, I mentioned one of their sponsors: The International Justice Mission – a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I highly encourage you to get to know IJM and support them. 

A few things you can do to learn more about this real problem:

I know that slavery exists in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas (you may know of other cities). This is not a 3rd world country. This is happening right here in the states. Wake up Church!