For those of you who didn’t already know, today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Coming on the heels of Passion 2012, where the emphasis on defeating modern slavery was definitely one of the highlights, I am pretty energized about this cause and hoping that today sparks awareness and action around the world.
When it comes to causes like this, I think it’s important for Christians to recognize the reasoning behind it, but also to do something about it. So, I’m going to start with why this is important and then point to some ways you can get involved.
Why spend so much focus, energy, and money on ending slavery?
There are 27 million slaves in the world today; 27 million souls trapped and forced into labor or sex. While we sit idly by on our comforts and freedoms, this is reality for people around the world, even in the United States. These aren’t just numbers— they’re people with names, faces, families, and feelings.
Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we were enslaved, wouldn’t we want someone who could do something about it to free us? If our children were taken captive, wouldn’t we stop at nothing to get them back?
But aren’t we supposed to be focused on the Great Commission? What does this have to do with the gospel? Certainly there is no hope for these people, or any of us, apart from Christ. Without Christ, we are all enslaved to sin. With Christ, we experience freedom like never before. It is out of our gratefulness for and joy in freedom that we seek to promote freedom whenever and wherever possible.
One of the things I learned while studying the books of the prophets in the Old Testament was how much God emphasized justice and righteousness. It is clear he has a broken heart for the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed, and the exploited. And that’s who Jesus came to serve. Advocating for, rescuing, and restoring them comes right out of his playbook. When we seek to help these people, the gospel is not just our mission statement— it is what we have to offer them as hope— not just in this screwed-up life— but for eternity.
I was reading a blog post on the CNN website about Passion’s giving toward battling human trafficking. I knew better than to read the comments, but I did. This is a portion of one comment on the blog that I can’t shake from my mind:
end slavery because slavery is wrong, not so you can advertise your god.
Whoever wrote this was responding to the statement that Passion’s work to combat slavery was all for the glory of God, or something to that effect. To the world, this comment probably looks right, but for us, it points to the truth in a roundabout way.
Why is slavery wrong? Someone had to set the moral standard. Who did that? God. We seek to end slavery in the name of God because it is only by God we know that slavery is wrong and freedom is good, and because he is the only one who could ever do it. 27 million slaves will not be freed by mere human effort. Human effort, selfishness, greed, and perversion are what caused there to be 27 million slaves in the first place. 27 million slaves will only be freed by a miraculous act of God. It is only in Christ that we can find it within ourselves to sacrifice and lay down our lives, time, voices, and resources to stand up for what is right on such a grand scale. History is not made by people following right or ending wrong; history is made by following God.
We don’t just end slavery because slavery is wrong, we end it because God says it is wrong. And we will advertise him as we do it. We should have it no other way. If anything I do fails to advertise my God, I have failed at my purpose.
How can I make a difference?
Go to Slavery Footprint and find out how many slaves work for you. They also tell you how you can cut down on your own slavery footprint.
Passion’s Do Something Now program still has a place where you can give to freedom on their website (also watch the Freedom film on this site— it’s amazing). Or you can give directly to one of the organizations listed above.
Share this post, others like it, and these websites. Tell your friends about this horrible reality. We must spread the word to the world. A global problem must be solved with a global response.
It’s the only way we’ll win this.