(Photo: REUTERS/Parth Sanyal)
When Beth Redman learned that an estimated 27 million people were currently trapped as modern-day slaves, with less than 2 percent actually rescued, she wept to the point where she was almost sick. She knew something had to be done.
Gathering some of her musician friends together along with her widely respected songwriting husband, Matt Redman – creator of classic Christian songs including "Heart of Worship" and "Let Everything That Has Breath" – Beth helped develop "Twenty Seven Million."
"Twenty Seven Million" is a new single about a real life girl from Eastern Europe trafficked into London's sex trade. The track, also written and sung by husband and wife Lindz and Lucy West of LZ7, as well as Willie Weeks and Jorge Mhondera, looks to raise awareness for the anti-human trafficking movement, with the aim to abolish modern day slavery.
"Every movement needs an anthem and my hope is that this single will help people pray, to give money or time," Beth said, according to Cross Rhythms UK. "The ultimate dream is if everyone does something that figure of 27 million could be eradicated in our lifetime."
Husband Matt shared on his website, "Society is waking up to the fact that there are twenty seven million slaves on the earth today. They are the voiceless, but we could be their voice. Please buy the single at iTunes...if we all move as one on this, together we could make some big noise about this important issue."
Responding to the cause, people worldwide have shown overwhelming support and love for the new single.
Though the song was released less than a few weeks ago, it has already topped charts, ranking #1 in the gospel music charts, top 40 on iTunes in the USA, #3 in the UK, and #1 in Bulgaria, a major hub of human trafficking.
"Thank u everyone for downloading #twentysevenmillion & UNITING to be a voice for those that cry out day & night," Beth Redman tweeted.
All proceeds from the single will go to The A21 Campaign, which stands for Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century, founded by Christine Caine.
Caine was the woman who first opened Beth's eyes to the injustices happening all around the world, especially in Europe.
The two, who had previously met during a Hillsong conference, ran into each other again at a women's conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During that time, Caine, a prominent leader at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, told the mother of five about the work of A21 and the issue of human trafficking.
"How had I not known about this? Where had I been?" Redman recalled, according to Caine's Notes on Facebook. "I had been stuck inside, shoveling Christian comfort into the hearts of so many, not knowing or acting on behalf of the poor, marginalized, 27 million slaves who I share the planet with."
"My Spirit was groaning and I knew something had to be done. My life and my mission were changed forever."
Upon relocating to the U.K. with her husband and kids, Beth traveled to Greece to visit an A21 shelter for victims of human trafficking, erected in 2008.
"I met the most precious young girls whose freedom had been stolen, yet they were able to begin the restoration process thanks to the work and effort of A21 and its supporters," Beth described.
The transition home, filled with a safe, loving and comforting environment, was the organization's first shelter that they had opened for victims, providing access to medical care, psychological assessment, vocational training, assistance in university education, life guidance and counseling, and access to legal assistance.
Inspired and shaken by the visit to the shelter, Beth began campaigning with A21 and other NGOs and corporations to "one by one" prosecute traffickers and free the slaves. She was no longer willing to stand by idly and accept the horrific statistics.
According to A21, there are currently 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide.
Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately $31.6 billion a year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates $27.8 billion per year.
Additionally, 90 percent of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry. Only 1 to 2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted.
"We don't need to be overwhelmed by the statistics, but rather outraged enough to do what we can," Beth said.
By working with A21, the Redmans and LZ7 hope to awaken the church to "rise up" and bring awareness to the issue.
"The track is basically just a call to say we can rise up, we can change this generation, we can do something to stop this," Lindz West of LZ7 said in a promotional video.
Matt Redman also added, "We read about this in the news, we're hearing all these stories, seems to be such a 'now' theme in society. Well as a church, let's speak into this."
Though Caine is also a devout Christian, she told CNN that her organization did not try to convert trafficking victims. She also said that her anti-human trafficking campaign was not just for Christians but for anyone who wanted to make a difference and abolish injustice in the 21st century.
"My job is to help put tools in people's hands and say, 'Yeah. Together we can stop that from happening,'" the director of Equip & Empower Ministries stated.
"Often, I think, because we think, 'I can't do it all,' we end up being paralyzed. So we do nothing. But if we understand we can't do everything but we must all do something, and we all find the one thing that we can do, then we'll find that together we will make such a huge difference and we'll be able to put a stop to this."
The A21 Campaign works mostly in Europe, where the growth of human trafficking of women from Eastern and Southern Europe into Western Europe over the past 20 years has been unmatched.
Their goal is four-fold: prevent people from being trafficked; protect and support those who have been trafficked; prosecute traffickers and strengthen legal responses to trafficking; and partner with law enforcement, service providers and community to provide a comprehensive front against trafficking.
"A21 are doing an amazing work, not only are they prosecuting traffickers, working with the police to do that, but they're also rescuing victims, they're taking them into shelters, rehabilitating them, giving them their lives back giving them their dreams back," Beth Redman praised the non-profit.
"We hope [the single] will not only raise awareness for this issue, but also raise funds to find and prosecute the slave masters and to rescue and restore the victims."
To help promote the single, Matt and Beth Redman along with LZ7 recently visited Belfast, Manchester, London and Peterborough on a "Twenty Seven Million Tour." They performed and spoke to a sold-out venue in Peterborough last week.
In the midst of the excitement for the new song, Caine hoped that supporters would not forget why the song was written in the first place – to see girls find freedom.
"I want to ensure we do not lose focus on the whole reason this song was written," she penned on her blog. "It's about the one. The one who is still forced to do things against her will. The one who has no voice. The one who longs to be rescued."
To listen and buy the new single, click here.
Read more about The A21 Campaign by visiting http://www.thea21campaign.org.