Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
– Isaiah 58:6
Though it may be startling to some, the slavery taking place in the world today far exceeds the hushed cries of the slave trade of the 17th and 18th centuries. Men, women, and children raise helpless hands in a desperate plea for rescue, hidden and unnoticed by the hurried masses. The facts are bloody, gruesome, and certainly not G-rated. Slavery never is.
Various sources indicate just how pervasive modern-day slavery is, citing numbers ranging from 2 to 20 MILLION people living in bondage as of 2012 (See Note 1). The CNN Freedom Project brings these sickening facts closer to home, stating that, “In the United States, the number of trafficking victims is roughly equivalent to the number of murders each year…And while 90 percent of murder cases are solved, only 1 percent of trafficking cases ever reach prosecution.”
The Gospel is all about freedom from slavery. Paul repeatedly uses the metaphor of a slave to allude the sin that keeps human souls in bondage, only being freed by the powerful, redemptive rescue of Christ. As imitators of Christ, it is time that we bring freedom to the voiceless slaves of this modern world.
One of nearly 42,000 rescued victims of human trafficking explains the scars of her time in slavery during a statement at her trafficker’s sentencing, tearfully saying, “I walk around and carry the physical scars of the torture you put me through. The cigarette burns, the knife carvings, the piercings … how a human being can see humor in the torture, manipulation, and brainwashing of another human being is beyond comprehension. You have given me a life sentence (NBC News).
During the 2012 Passion Conference, nearly 60,000 teens and young adults were challenged with this vital mission of rescuing the millions crying out for hope around the world and here in the United States. Exodus Road, an organization dedicated to representing the unheard voices of slavery, reported on the overwhelming response of attendees at their blog. Because Exodus Road is working in various countries, they also shared recent victories, including the rescue of twelve boys and girls from slavery–what a Christmas present!
My prayer is that the underground movement of various organizations such as the Exodus Road, Not for Sale, and the International Justice Mission would take on the untold force of an avalanche, tearing out the trees of slavery by their roots, and bringing freedom and hope to the millions in bondage around the world.
Freedom was Christ’s mission. Is it yours?
1. UNICEF reports in The State of the Worlds Children 2012, that out of the 2.5 million people trafficked in the world it is estimated that 22 – 50 percent of them are children. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are about 20.9 million victims of modern slavery.