WILLS POINT – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified in 1948, seventy years ago. Article 4 of the Declaration says,
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
A large number of people in the United States – perhaps most – believe that slavery no longer exists. That leads us to the first of four shameful truths about modern slavery.
Shameful Truth #1 – An estimated 40.3 million people are enslaved worldwide.
The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that
|.52 million||are enslaved in the Middle East|
|1.95 million||are enslaved in the Americas|
|3.59 million||are enslaved in Europe and North Asia|
|9.24 million||are enslaved in Africa|
|24.99 million||are enslaved in South and Southeast Asia|
“Slavery occurs in the gulags of North Korea, on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, and in the brothels of Eastern Europe. Its victims are children forced into military action in the Democratic Republic of Congo or born into debt bondage at brick kilns in India, young men laboring on rickety fishing boats in Thailand, and children and women pressed into domestic servitude in Haiti.”
Modern slavery is predominant in the same areas of the world where enslavement to generational poverty leaves people vulnerable to being trapped into forced labor, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced marriages.
People are enslaved in poverty are desperate to find a way out for themselves and their families. Sometimes, just for themselves at the cost of their families.
Shameful Truth #2 – 71% of all modern slavery victims are women and girls.
That is approximately 28.6 million women and young girls. This is not to say that men and boys are not victims of modern slavery. There are just fewer of them. But, if you were one of the 11.4 million men and boys forced to long hours in mines, kilns, steaming farmlands, or stinking fisheries, the number that matters most is one.
Whether the victim is a woman or girl forced into forced marriages, domestic servitude, or nonconsensual commercial acts through which others accumulate financial gain, the pain, the lack of hope, and the loss of dignity is the same.
Shameful Truth #3 – 25% of all modern slavery victims are children.
Over 10 million children are trapped in agricultural work, the services sector, or industry, like the girl in the lead photo working in a brick kiln in the opening photo.
Before we share Shameful Truth #4, please watch this short video that will further open your eyes to the realities of modern slavery around the globe.
Shameful Truth #4 – The United Nations is not even close to being able to reach its Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating modern slavery by 2030.
The sheer numbers alone should be adequate for the average person to see that the goal is unattainable. Let’s review.
|Divided by||12||years between now and October 2030|
|3,358,333||that must be freed each year|
|Divided by||365||days in a year|
|9,200||individuals that must be set free every day for 12 years.|
We are most definitely at situation critical. There is no way humanly possible to solve this problem.
But we have a God who specializes in the impossible. So, instead of appealing to governments, let us pray to the One who loves each of us with a love beyond compare and ask for His mercy, relief, and release from those whose lives have been robbed from them by cruel and greedy masters who take advantage of their vulnerabilities.
Remember, we may not be able to solve the entire problem, but we all can do something.
- Sight Magazine, Cooperation, not cash, key to ending modern slavery by 2030 – experts
- Anti-Slavery, What is modern slavery?
- U.S. Department of State, What is Modern Slavery?
- The Council on Foreign Relations, Modern Slavery
- The Guardian, Over 400,000 people living in ‘modern slavery’ in US, report finds
- FBI, Photo by Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department