Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 6, 2010

At the End of Slavery

   International Justice Mission is a Washington DC based human rights agency committed to bringing freedom and justice to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. With more than twenty-seven million human beings held as slaves in the world today, IJM is in a tough fight. I recently watched At the End of Slavery — IJM’s documentary that takes viewers into the dark and seedy world of children who are forced to work in filthy brothels and dangerous brick factories. In this video, Gary Haugen, President and CEO of IJM, notes that “those who are fighting against slavery have to be as committed to the struggle as the slave owner is.” He’s right. Those unprincipled individuals who seize opportunities to deceive, exploit, and abuse the weak are more than willing to do whatever it takes. We must be no less committed to the cause of justice.

   One of the interviews that troubled me the most in IJM’s convicting documentary is that of a young girl rescued from the forced commercial sex trade. Looking into the camera, she said, “Even when we cried or shouted, still no one could help us.” I paused the video at that point to look into this young girl’s eyes and to reflect on her words. While she was speaking about herself, she was also speaking for the millions who are currently living in the kind of hell from which she was recently rescued. We can’t possibly hope to make any advances on this difficult front if all we do is shake our heads in disgust or disbelief and then turn our attention to more pleasant things. We must not allow the distance that separates us from those who are suffering to keep us from hearing their desperate cries.

   Unless we hear the cries of the oppressed, they will continue to suffer abuse and to be treated like disposable Styrofoam cups. Unless we hear the sobs of children who are repeatedly raped behind brothel doors or whose little hands have been rubbed raw because of spending twelve-hour days making and moving bricks, we will not make any difference in our world. Jesus came to rescue us from the oppression of the evil one (Col. 1:13). We must join Him in rescuing those who are oppressed by evil people. Here are a few practical suggestions for tuning in to the frequency of the oppressed.

   First, find out why God hates injustice by reading His Word. Search your Bible using key words like “poor, oppress, cries, justice, groaning, weak, needy, rescue, orphan, widow, alien.” Read and meditate on these passages and then act on what you read. And, order a copy of IJM’s documentary video At the End of Slavery and host a screening. This is a great way to make others aware of atrocities in our world and to mobilize them to join the battle for justice.

   Second, align your priorities with God’s. In his book entitled “Just Courage,” Gary Haugen writes (p. 65), “Justice is not optional for Christians. It is central to God’s heart and thus critical to our relationship with God.” Because the cries of the oppressed are important to God, they must be important to us. And, because God hates injustice and wants it to stop, we must join Him in fighting injustice and rescuing the oppressed. We must allow the things that grieve Him to grieve us.

   Third, take a careful look at your spending. Your checkbook is a good indicator of what your priorities are. Reorder your priorities to enable you to do something to make a difference. Look for ways to save money and then invest your savings in supporting justice initiatives. Use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to share with others about the plight of the oppressed. Write your elected members of Congress to be advocates for the poor and oppressed. IJM’s website has updates and alerts about various justice campaigns and how you can get involved. Determine that you will always do something to help put an end to slavery in our world today.

   Finally, pray. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. Enlist others to pray with you. Pray for those who are enslaved, for families whose children have been kidnapped and trafficked across international borders, and that God will bring oppressors to justice. Pray for organizations like IJM and those who participate in rescuing those who are enslaved. Together and with God’s help, we can make a difference and help to end modern-day slavery.


Responses

  1. Oh my…..this is a clear wake up call from the day to day living I experience in my little circle of the world.

  2. Celia…

    Yes, this is sobering stuff. I have visited aftercare homes on my travels and appreciate the compassionate care they give to young women who have suffered unimaginable abuse. They need our prayers and support.

    Blessings,
    Omar~

  3. A friend of mine and I took the Just Courage class and wanted to get the IJM’s video and show it to others in our home. Do you think there is an interest? Also, my sister in Virginia sent me this email about this book, Sex and Money, a Global Search for Human Worth. Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

    Through photos and stories, this book shares the harsh realities of injustice in our world that have broken our hearts: orphans, sex slaves, extreme poverty, and many others. We have found that these individual issues contribute to a much larger form of injustice: human trafficking. Our desire is to mobilize at least 10,000 people to respond purposefully to end human trafficking. TODAY.

    Sex and Money by Carmen Vaught is about the global trade in human beings. It helps the reader to recognize modern day slavery and do something about it.

  4. Susan…

    I encourage you to get the “At the End of Slavery” documentary video and host a screening in your home. We need to do all that we can to raise awareness of this global problem.

    Thanks for the info on the book “Sex and Money.” This book can be purchased at http://www.photogenx.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=111&Itemid=105.

    Blessings,
    Omar~


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