Abolition of Slavery Day

The 2nd of December is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Thinking about slavery, as an American, my mind quite often goes back into the past. I recall bits and pieces of history lessons throughout my education about slavery in America; its affects and its abolition. However, I am forced to counter my limited view on the topic with the global rise of contemporary forms of slavery. There are an estimated 30.2 million people in slavery such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, child labor, forced marriage, and the involuntary recruitment of children for armed conflict. The number can be daunting when you think about efforts to rescue and rehabilitate girls, boys, women, and men caught in this abuse.

I’ve spent the last year and half trying to wrap my head around the tragic consequences of slavery. During this time, my husband and I have been Mummy and Daddy to several children rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Seeing the effects of slavery on a day to day basis, has deeply intensified the passion in our lives to see slavery abolished and lives restored.  Four days ago one of the children told me “Mummy I will tell the truth. Don’t worry, I’m not afraid, all I need to do is tell the truth”. The statement was made in anticipation of the face to face encounter with their perpetrator where they would retell the details surrounding their story of sexual exploitation in a court room. Each victim has a different story but still the same heartbreaking trauma imposed on their lives.  People don’t walk away from this kind of horror unscathed.  There are many obvious and not so obvious results of being victimized by slavery. The results don’t just effect some, they affect everyone and the way we live.

Fortunately, this child has the opportunity to bring justice to their situation, but many do not.  I’ve asked myself many times-how I can be more effective in this fight to abolish slavery and rehabilitate its victims once rescued?  Being asked to manage a home for victims of slavery where family and being loved as part of that family is central, was one of those ways for us. Giving to the cause financially, was another way. Currently, slavery is the fastest growing criminal industry anywhere and the fight against it is the least funded; but funding, manpower, and corruption in the legal system can create huge obstacles. With these looming barriers, we can lose sight of slavery and the need for justice in our time.

Mercy in Action, International Justice Mission, and Children’s Legal Bureau are just a few organizations that have devoted themselves to preventing, rescuing, and/or rehabilitating victims of slavery. There is hope and lives are being restored. I see enslaved people trapped in something beyond their capability to escape. I also see girls, boys, men and women who are diamonds being unearthed, the exterior cut away to reveal their true identity, and polished to shine with purpose.

 

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