January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. While many people think that slavery ended with the Civil War, there are actually more slaves today than ever before in human history. Additionally, humans are cheaper than ever before, with the average slave costing $90. By comparison, in 1850, when slaves were amassed in the American South, they sold for $40,000 in today’s dollars.
God cares deeply about liberation for the enslaved. In Exodus, we are told of the miraculous ways He intervened to help the Israelites escape their bondage from Egypt. “Let my people go,” we read over and over again in Exodus. Through the power of Christ, the label of “God’s chosen people” has expanded beyond the Israelites and now includes Gentiles from every tribe. If anyone is enslaved, lacking freedom, God’s drumbeat for liberty continues today: “Let my people go. Let my people go. Let my people go.”
Trapping people in sex trafficking or bonded labor is insidious and perpetrators work very hard to keep their victims silenced. Because trafficking occurs in the shadows, it’s so important to set aside days of awareness like today to help educate people to recognize the issues involved and empower them to be a part of the solution. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite communities doing life-saving abolitionist work:
International Justice Mission (IJM)
IJM is the most well-known abolitionist organization out there. They work in dozens of global communities and offer legal expertise to help victims of a wide variety of human rights injustices—from helping free bonded labor slaves in brick kilns in India, to rescuing girls trafficked across international borders into Dominican brothels. IJM is changing entire police systems in Kenya, while also working hard to combat cyber-sex trafficking in the Philippines.
If anyone is enslaved, lacking freedom, God’s drumbeat for liberty continues today: ‘Let my people go. Let my people go. Let my people go.’
IJM has wonderful programs in place to empower American churches to support their work. Consider hosting a Freedom Sunday at your church to raise awareness of IJM’s mission and also invite those who attend your congregation to financially support this important work.
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Today, 5,000 churches from over 50 countries are joining together to proclaim God’s call to do justice. A global movement has begun – and the Church ought to lead the way to rescue + protect the most vulnerable among us. Is your church participating in #FreedomSunday? Tag us in your Instagram stories so we can highlight what’s being done around the world!
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A21 is a passion project of Christine Caine, who is one of the most influential and inspiring Christian speakers out there. If you ever get a chance to hear from her, take advantage of the opportunity.
A very simple way to partner with A21 is to download their Can You See Me? social toolkit and post the content to your social channels. All of us have the potential to see trafficking happen before our eyes, but we often can’t recognize it. By educating yourself and others of the signs of human trafficking, you may be able to spot trafficking activity and intervene.
While the internet has been incredibly powerful to interconnect communities, it also has a dark side. The exploitation of young girls and boys for online pornographic images is particularly insidious because the content featuring minors lives on indefinitely.
Thorn takes on a technological approach to combat sex trafficking, developing cutting-edge tech solutions which focus on three principals:
- Accelerate victim identification
- Deter abusers
- Disrupt platforms
Technological innovation and strong marketing are at the core of Thorn’s work to end the sexual exploitation of minors. Check out this video for an example of how Thorn is creatively and sensitively helping young people protect themselves from online sexual predators:
Here at LightWorkers, we love how accessible and creative Dressember’s approach is to helping combat human trafficking. Dressing up in dresses and ties in December is something that literally anyone can do—from small children to super-star celebrities. What you may not realize is that Dressember continues their winter fundraising campaign into January every year, so there’s still time to donate.
Check out Dressember’s online shop to purchase an Elegantees dress that was made by survivors of sex trafficking in Nepal. They look great year-round!
“Let my people go,” we read over and over again in Exodus. Exodus Road works daily to continue this command. Working in Asia, South America and the USA, Exodus Road employs unique strategies in each community to help those in need.
In Colorado, Exodus Road has established a Cyber Operations Center to track the digital footprint of traffickers and help empower police departments to act on this information.
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Operation 48HOURS || 48 hours, two countries, two operations, six total survivors, and five total arrests. . In part one of this rescue, ALPHA team and local Thai police worked together to rescue two 16-year-old girls. Piti* and Preeda* were the first in #op48HOURS to be recovered and taken out of a life of sex trafficking. Two traffickers were also arrested, ensuring that they are off the streets. Watch for part two of #op48HOURS tomorrow. . *Piti and Preeda are representative names that mean “joyful.” . . . #theexodusroad #humantrafficking #socialjustice #activism #advocacy #nonprofit #searchandrescue #modernslavery #rescue #empoweringrescue #rescueiscoming #purposefulliving #liveinspired #goodnewsfeed #thatauthenticfeeling #beinspired #liveintentionally #endslavery #togetherwecan #ALPHAteam
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There’s so much you can do as a modern abolitionist. You can begin work partnering with IJM to host a Freedom Sunday at your church, share A21’s Can You See Me? social toolkit, buy a Dressember dress or donate to the amazing work of Thorn or Exodus Road. Join us in the fight!