Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free...
(John F. Kennedy)
(John F. Kennedy)
The concept of freedom seems to be invisible in the minds of most in the Western World. Freedom seems to be something that many never contemplate or think too hard about. But the very real reality of freedom is on my mind and heart today. South Africa celebrates Freedom Day today (27 April) and I want to bring to your consciousness the reality of the freedom-less. The enslaved, whose reality is bondage, slavery and fear.
Do you know that there are more slaves alive on this earth at this very moment, than there has ever been before in the history of mankind? Even as we sit hear drawing breath, close to 30 000 000 (million) people are surviving in slavery. I say surviving because slavery is not living, its daily breathing. Modern day slavery is called Human Trafficking and its becoming something that most people are hearing about and others are experiencing. I have met and I have touched survivors of human trafficking and their stories and realities are so hard to hear and hard to process that their words and experiences keep you awake at night. But it’s reality. Just this past week over 120 young girls were abducted in Nigeria, over 70 of these girls still have not been found. These precious young girls are used and sold as sex slaves. They are moved across borders, they are force-fed drugs and they are held against their will and against all odds. It is truly a reality that cannot be fathomed or explained in words, so let me rather issue you with some statistics.
· 1 -2 Million people are trafficked each year (UNICEF)
· Half of the children who are trafficked each year come from Africa
· Most trafficked victims are girls between the ages of 5 – 15 years.
· Studies show that South Africa is one of the main countries for human trafficking
· Before July 2013 there existed no legislation in South Africa, to protect victims of human trafficking
· There are up to 10,000 child prostitutes in Johannesburg.
· Up to 1,000 girls are trafficked to South Africa from Mozambique each year.
· The Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo are the main “recruitment” areas for victims of human trafficking.
While some would celebrate freedom today, I urge you all reading this to think about the reality of the quote I placed above. When one individual is enslaved – we are not free! I am often asked about human trafficking and what can others out there do to help. Firstly – pray! Pray for the victims, pray for their lives and for their hearts, pray Yeshua’s Love will find them and pray for their freedom. Act, there are a number of organisations working with victims and survivors of human trafficking, find out about what is happening in your country and in your area. Reach out, Touch – we are all so different, use what God has given you to make a difference. If you need to do personal research then do it – perhaps you can share about this plight around a coffee table with friends. Write a blog post about it, share with your kids about it. Donate! To safe houses – even clothing or bedding, feminine products, sanitary goods – anything. Host a speaker from a safe house or organisation at your church or in your community. Do something with your woman’s group – learn about it, speak about it and pray about it.
Tonight I saw the most beautiful sun setting in the sky – the clouds looked like an angel. I sat with my family around the table and ate a warm meal, thanking God for all that I have and while I watched the setting sun draw back in to its sleepy shade, I knew that somewhere right now some young girl or young boy has not seen the sun in years and may never see the beauty in the setting sky again. May our hearts do all we can for those who are enslaved, we can be the William Wilberforces and the Harriet Tubman’s of our generation, but it’s up to us to do more. (I would love to hear from you – what you have learned about human trafficking and what are you doing to make a difference!)
Jesus means for us to go and find and rescue the screaming, because we are fearless and faithful. He means for us to awaken from the dream and go in to the darkness... Christine Caine, Undaunted...