Note: This is the first of a four-part series.
For reasons that will become abundantly clear, I will refer to my friend as "Z." Please consider using your social media influence to share her story.
Readers of this column know my concern for biblical justice issues. I remain convinced our loss of substantial believability as followers of Christ owes to our wrongful pursuit of political power. In this pursuit believers have allowed issues addressed throughout the Bible to go unaddressed. For too long, too many have allowed or expected the government to do the work of the church. Others, doggedly chasing partisan positions, have ignored the poor, the hungry, the orphan, and the abused. Like the Pharisees we tithed from our herbs but left weightier matters undone: justice, mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23). more >>
"Indifference is not an option." "God wants to use rescued people to rescue people." "Bring this darkness into the light." "Raise your voice for freedom." These are all phrases we heard along with more than 45,000 college students who packed the Georgia Dome for the Passion 2012 Conference in Atlanta last year, as prominent Christian leaders used their platform to highlight the horrors of modern-day slavery. It was here that we first developed a distinct awareness of the 27 million people in bondage to different forms of slavery worldwide.
We were shocked to learn that there are more slaves in the world today than at any time in history, and slavery's various expressions include human trafficking, sex slavery, descent-based slavery, forced labor, bonded labor, and child labor. We heard stories that spanned age, gender, and location, including descriptions of young girls forced into sex trafficking here in Atlanta and in major cities around the world, and older men trapped in cycles of slavery forced to work in brick yards and rock quarries for generations. In particular, human trafficking is a global humanitarian crisis which crosses continental divides and social boundaries, permeating commercial enterprises, infiltrating homes, and charting the lives and livelihoods of millions across the globe.
Right after the conference ended, as we were in the elevator leading to the parking lot, we happened to meet Christine Caine, founder of The A21 Campaign, who had spoken at the conference about the crisis of modern-day slavery. We thanked her for her brave efforts fighting global human trafficking, and mentioned that we were gaining a greater awareness of the problem in India. With authority and anguish in her voice, Caine responded, "India is one of the worst countries when it comes to human trafficking." This tragic reality is the result of generational indentured labor practices, from rice mills and brick factories to booming brothels and the mass transfer of girls for domestic services in urban city centers. In fact, many aspects of slavery and trafficking in India today are often ignored or even accepted as legitimate practice. more >>
Morality in Media has determined in its 2013 "Dirty Dozen List" of individuals and organizations that Attorney General Eric Holder is the leading facilitator of pornography, which the nonprofit says is linked directly to violence against women and sex trafficking.
"Holder's actions keep the porn industry thriving. He not only refuses to enforce obscenity laws currently on the books that prohibit the distribution of hardcore pornography, but he even disbanded the office charged with enforcement," said Patrick A. Trueman, president of Morality in Media, in a statement on the organization's Porn Harms website.
Trueman served as chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) at the U.S. Department of Justice where, until 1993, he supervised the prosecution of obscenity crimes, child sex crimes and child pornography. more >>
"Not Today," an award-winning movie that tackles human trafficking, is set to open in several major markets across America next month, with a mission to raise awareness about one of the most critical problems the world faces today.
"What we hope is that this will be a catalyst for conversation, if we can get the story out," said Matthew Cork, lead pastor at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., and executive producer of "Not Today," in an exclusive interview with The Christian Post.
"The people that we really believe that God has called us to work with is the Dalits – 300,000 million of them who have been in this type of slavery for over 3,000 years; and many people in America don't even know who we are." more >>
An important anti-slavery bill is heading to President Barack Obama's desk after the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), aimed at tackling the $32 billion trafficking enterprise.
"This is an important step toward freedom for the millions of women, men and children around the globe who are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery each year," said David Abramowitz, Director of ATEST and Vice President for Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United, one of the groups backing the Senate-approved bill.
"We applaud Senators Leahy and Rubio for their steadfast leadership in the fight against modern slavery and we look forward to seeing President Obama sign this cornerstone anti-trafficking measure into law." more >>
PHILADELPHIA – In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas in culture that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, Lisa Thompson, liaison for the abolition of sexual trafficking for the Salvation Army, said during a Friday presentation at The Justice Conference.
"Sex trafficking is a battle of ideas," Thompson explained during a pre-conference session on sex trafficking. The Church in America too often does not do enough to address the ideology upon which sex trafficking is based – "an ideology that disassociates sex from love, responsibility and children." American culture embraces this idea, she continued, and it is "spewed upon us" by "media elites in our culture," such as movies, books and TV shows.
"One of the reasons sex trafficking is flourishing is that we, as a Church, do not do enough to address the ideology that disassociates sex from love," Thompson explained. more >>