Slavery ended with the Civil War, right? Not exactly. There are 40 million people worldwide in slavery today, more than at any other time in history. Human trafficking is the third largest criminal activity in the world.
But slavery must be a third-word problem, right? Not exactly. Whenever someone is hurting, in poverty, or in an abusive relationship, they are vulnerable to exploitation.
“Kate” was interviewed on local TV earlier this year. Kate spent much of her childhood in abusive households, jumping between family, foster parents, and adoption. Eventually, she decided to run away, but was homeless and alone. She was 15 when she met a man who offered her a place to stay.
The 40-year-old told her, “If you help me I’ll help you.”
Kate started selling drugs on 5th Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. It wasn’t enough. Soon, the man made her do other things she didn’t want to do. She wanted to leave, but she was trapped.
Kate was rescued in an FBI sting operation in a local hotel but was charged with prostitution. The good news is that county officials and advocacy groups are working to see that Kate and others like her are treated as victims instead of criminals.
This Sunday, September 23rd, has been declared “Freedom Sunday” by International Justice Mission (IJM.org). This Sunday, we join thousands of churches around the world in learning about slavery and human trafficking.
A long time ago, God told the Prophet Micah that three things were required of God followers: “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”
This isn’t passive voice. Justice is something we do.
Could we pray about joining IJM in helping to end this curse, not just in the third world, but right outside our doors?