This post comes from the champion of our Partners-in-Giving, Michael (Bear) Meyer. This Sunday is Freedom Sunday, and we’ll hear more about their work in church, but here is a word from Michael about the work:
Is slavery just our nature?
There are two things I would like for you to take away from this blog. The first is to remember every slave is a human being with a name, a story, and a dream. The second is together, with the help of anti-slavery organization, the church, and our own involvement, we can send rescue and set them free.
Here’s some history: The word “slavery” evokes thoughts of a dark period (1619-1863) in US history when the slave trade existed in the United States. Fact is, reference to slavery had been around long before. We read about it in the bible, and we know humans have been practicing slavery since the beginning of time. I guess it’s just in our nature.
Slavery is still present, if not more so, than anytime in the history of mankind. “Modern Day Slavery” is how it is referred to today.
How real is “Modern Day Slavery?” Frightfully real. It is estimated 40 million people are trapped in some form of slavery. Modern Day Slavery takes on many different forms. Forced labor is just one. Sex trafficking involving children, teens and adult women is another. A property grab leaves widows with no income and unable to support their children. Entire families forced to do manual labor in a system rigged to never allow them to pay their debt. Young boys forced into dangerous labor. And the newest addition. Cyber sex trafficking.
The question is often askedhowis slavery still being practiced today. One answer: Money. Slavery generates over $150 billion annually.
What is being done to stop Modern Day Slavery? Fortunately, a lot. International organizations, such as International Justice Mission (IJM), are mobilized and working in slavery hot spots throughout the world, including the United States.
Rescuing victims is only a small part of the solution. Helping to rehabilitate individuals or entire families by placing them in a safe environment requires medical care, housing, education and counseling. Establishing judicial systems where none exists, training, prosecution and arrests helps put an end to the perpetrators.
I am only one person, so what can I do? Actually, quite a bit.
- Awareness of the problem is the first step, and it’s only a click away. Visit the International Justice Mission web site (ijm.org) and you will find a great source of information. Knowledge is power, and the more you learn the more you will pass forward.
- Be an anti-slavery activist. It’s easier than it sounds and very effective. Our elected officials want (and need) your input. There are countless ways to become a champion for those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves. IJM has a Minneapolis chapter. Meet with them.
- Include Modern Day Slavery victims in your daily prayers. IJM believes in the power of prayer. In fact IJM stops operations and their entire organization spends an hour in prayer every day. Their founder, Gary Haugen, states, “The work we do is so difficult there is no way we could do it without God’s help.” The power of prayer is one reason why Spirit Garage participates in Freedom Sunday where churches around the world come together in prayer to eliminate slavery.
- Donate to IJM, or, an organization of your choice. Spirit Garage includes IJM in our Partners In Giving program. Also, every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel and penny in the Lose Change To Loosen Chains jug helps with the rescue of someone trapped in slavery.
With your help, IJM has a plan to end slavery in our lifetime. Please consider becoming a part of the solution.