The great emancipator Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
Slavery. For generations this topic has gripped the hearts of mankind.
Why? Because it goes against the grain of our innate desire for freedom. It resonates in our hearts by contrasting with the freedoms we enjoy as Americans today.
As a missionary, I have seen the faces of women and children sold as commodities in a multi-billion dollar industry known as the global slave trade. And it’s not just happening in the third world countries; it’s taking place right in our own backyard. Children are sold for sex and forced labor everyday in this country. Instead of enslaving an entire race as America did once before (those of African descent who were forced to toil in the land of the South), this spirit of oppression is now enslaving our women and children (who are sources of life and wonder in this world).
But, I’m thankful that Jesus conquers oppression. He stands in victory as the epitome of freedom.
While sitting with the Lord, I was honestly surprised when He told me that He wanted today’s blog to be about slavery. Maybe there are some of you who are hungry for justice in this world and are not yet sure how to go about serving? Or perhaps there are some of you that already know about slavery but need to be refreshed in refocusing your eyes on the true Rescuer and Redeemer?
He alone knows. And because this site serves as a platform for the Lord to speak, I am praying that His will be done in the name of Jesus.
What is slavery? Slavery can be defined as submission to a dominating force; drudgery; severe toil; and the state of one bound in servitude as the property of another. All of these definitions are derived from one spiritual force – oppression by the enemy.
Oppression directly counteracts freedom, which is the very purpose for which Jesus died and rose again. Freedom over darkness, freedom for us from sin, and freedom to enjoy our lives to the fullest through His grace.
Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
A great example of this can be seen today in the People’s Republic of China. As Christian missionaries are sent to this nation, thousands of Chinese are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are being freed from the yolk of communist oppression and embracing a life filled with joy and peace from the Lord. I would not be surprised if one day China becomes a land overflowing with milk and honey; a source of encouragement for the world to see. Nor would I be surprised to see Chinese missionaries preaching the gospel to our own American youth who’ve been led astray.
What are ways that slavery exists today?
This really is a loaded question because enslavement (bondage) appears on a very broad spectrum. We as human beings can be enslaved by our past, our emotions, our job, and our circumstances. However, in today’s post we are going to focus on modern day slavery in the form of forced labor.
Modern day slavery represents the rawest form of evil produced by the heart of man. Yet we can find powerful demonstrations of His redemption, made possible only by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds like the entire theme of the Bible to me.
Let’s get educated.
What is forced labor? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), it is defined as all involuntary work or service that is exacted from one person under the threat of penalty by another. The U.S. State Department estimates that 27 million people (of all nationalities, and on all continents) are enslaved today. The ILO further estimates the following:
- 90 percent of victims are exploited by individuals or enterprises, while 10 percent are forced to work by a state, rebel military groups, or in prisons
- Forced labor exploitation alone makes up 80 percent of all victims, while 20 percent accounts for victims of forced sexual exploitation
- 55 percent of all victims are women and girls, and 45 percent are men and boys. Children make up around one quarter of all victims
What can you do? Conduct your own online research, and you may be very surprised at which household names are knowingly exploiting the lives of innocent people, all for a small profit gain. The link below is a copy of the report conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2009 titled: ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor‘.
Keep this in mind: often when we come across something that is dirt cheap here (clothing or food commodity), it’s likely costing someone else in another part of the world a very dear price. Forced labor requires the person to work in harsh conditions, endure extremely long hours, and are give a very limited food, water, and sunlight. This is abuse, beloved, and it should not be acceptable.
Also, if you feel led by the Holy Spirit to get involved in a deeper way, please check out and support the following organization (which I have worked with in the past) as they campaign against forced labor around the globe.
Not For Sale – International Organization
Due to the length of this post, we’ll continue this discussion on slavery (specifically sex-trafficking) with the aid of the Holy Spirit tomorrow morning. And remember that even darkness is light to Jesus since He has overcome it all!
“Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
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