This month marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the British slave trade. The fight was won by William Wilberforce, who steadfastly labored for 20 years to see the shackles broken.
With the release of Amazing Grace, we get a glimpse into the life of Wilberforce and celebrate his achievement. We marvel at his tenacity and rejoice in his accomplishments.
Lurking just outside the movie theatre is another reality, though.
Most people are woefully unaware that slavery still exists today and in numbers far greater than ever before – approximately 27 million people currently suffer in global bondage. That equates to almost 10% of the present population of the United States. Trafficking in persons trails only drugs and arms dealing as the third largest income-producing criminal activity worldwide.
In other words, the traffic is really flowing.
Here are some sobering facts to consider:
The Relative Value
In 1850, the average cost of a slave in today’s money was a considerable $40,000. The average cost of a slave today is a measly $90.
The Vulnerability Factors
Over 3 billion people (one half of the world’s population) live on less than $2 per day. Vulnerable.
More than 1.3 billion people live in absolute poverty, living on less than $1 per day. Vulnerable.
Approximately 1/3 of the world’s labor force is either unemployed or underemployed. Vulnerable.
There are almost 45 million refugees and internally-displaced people globally. Vulnerable.
The Child Victims
There are greater than 150,000,000 children on the streets of the world today. Most are orphaned and abandoned. They represent the greatest ‘at risk’ group for all forms of slavery.
Somewhere between 600,000 and 2 million people, mainly women and children, are victims of human trafficking each year.
As many as one million children are sold each year into sexual slavery alone. This number doesn’t include other forms of slavery such as family debt bondage.
Some prostituted children are under the age of five and are forced to have sex with as many as 30 men per day for as little as 25 cents per ‘client.’
In excess of 8 million children are currently ensnared by the most despicable forms of child labor and slavery, including debt bondage, forced prostitution, pornography and related activities.
Did you know that this is the reality of the world that you live in?
Did you know that this is the reality for millions of suffering orphans and street children?
May our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God!
We have to put a stop to the traffic! We need to create a traffic jam!
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade of Great Britain (my home territory and land of citizenship), and to take advantage of the visibility on the issue created by the release of Amazing Grace, I'm expanding the TRAFFIC JAM Campaign that I set up in 2004 through Orphan Lifeline.
The primary purpose of TRAFFIC JAM has been to open up a Highway of Prayer (HOPE) to the ultimate Traffic Cop, the only One with the power to jam up the traffic globally. After all, He's in the freedom business, isn't he? Now, TRAFFIC JAM is providing a lot more – materials and prayer points to assist you in interceding on behalf of the enslaved, and to help you in hosting small gatherings, parties and events (with traffic jammin' music of course) to create forums to share and pray with others.
Let's bring the traffic to a halt, folks. You can learn more about TRAFFIC JAM at Orphan Lifeline.