(Photo: Reuters/Parth Sanyal)
International Justice Mission, a human rights agency fighting for victims of slavery, has launched a petition encouraging Americans to sign their names in an effort to get President Barack Obama to help end modern-day slavery, which affects millions of men, women and children globally.
The "Stand for Freedom" campaign has acquired 7,641of the 27,000 necessary signatures – with one name said to represent 1,000 people who need freedom. According to the petition, there are 27 million people worldwide who are enslaved today.
IJM outlines five points that will help the U.S. government become a leader in the fight for this basic human right. "Americans want to end slavery once and for all," the petition reads. "The U.S. government can play a powerful role in fighting this crime by supporting robust law enforcement and victim relief at home and abroad."
It calls on Obama to discuss this issue in his 2012 address to the U.N. General Assembly, to get slavery out of the nation's supply chains, and provide diplomatic support to rescue victims of slavery and trafficking. The petition also urges Obama to fund the fight by developing a Presidential Fund to Eradicate Slavery through the State Department Office.
Founded in 1997, the agency's lawyers, investigators, and aftercare professionals work with a country's local authorities to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare. IJM fights violence and victimization on an individual level, while supporting competent public justice systems where the poor need an advocate.
"IJM's staff stand against violent oppression in response to the Bible's call to justice (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow," its website states.
The human rights agency provides: victim relief, perpetrator accountability, victim aftercare, and structural transformation. It also looks to prevent this abuse from happening to others by "strengthening the community factors and local judicial systems that will deter potential oppressors."
According to IJM's website, more children, women, and men are enslaved today than at any time during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The human trafficking industry is a $32 billion-a-year business, which sees about 2 million children forced into the commercial sex industry. The International Labour Organization found in 2007 that about 2.5 million people are in forced labor, including sexual exploitation, at any given time because of trafficking.
IJM is currently working in 13 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The organization is headquartered in Washington D.C., and has partner offices in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K. in its fight to end modern-day slavery.
The Christian Post was unable to speak with an IJM representative by press time.