SJC Month 9: A Look at Modern-Day Slavery

By September 10, 2010 culture, faith No Comments

Month 9 of the Social Justice Challenge (SJC) highlights the injustice of modern-day slavery. The goal of the SJC is to foster learning about social justice issues through reading and then to put feet to that newfound knowledge through some sort of action. (Learning is the easy part; it’s the action that’s difficult!)

For the month of September we will look at slavery in its various forms around the world today. To kick off the discussion, I’m using the standard SJC introductory questions.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of slavery?
I see shackles and violence. I hear yelling and mockery. I feel oppression, hopelessness, fear.

What knowledge do you have of slavery in our world today?
The little I know comes from some books I have read. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah comes to mind (see my review here)—Beah was a child slave, forced to serve in a rebel army in Sierra Leone. Then there is the work of International Justice Mission (IJM), “a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.”1 I also think of the book Same Kind of Different as Me, which describes Denver Moore’s life as a sharecropper (i.e., modern-day slave) in the South during the 1940s and 1950s. Learning of this, I was shocked and inflamed, because this is not all that long ago, and I cannot believe conditions like this still exist here in the United States.

Have you chosen a book or resource to read for this month?
I’d like to read one with an international focus and one that’s domestic. For the international focus, there are two books by Gary Haugen (IJM) that have gotten great reviews (Just Courage and Good News About Injustice); I may track down one of those. For the domestic, I’m considering The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter.

Why does slavery matter to you?
It matters to me because of the spiritual parallel—spiritually, all people are entrapped until Jesus Christ rescues the captive from sin and death. Physical slavery represents this spiritual truth. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to carry on His work as He empowers me, and that includes setting captives free both spiritually (as people acknowledge Jesus as King) and physically (by being involved in spreading justice).

So tell me, what’s the first thing you think of when you consider modern-day slavery? Do you have a heart for an organization that is spreading justice around the world? I’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments and spur the discussion.

And be sure to come back later in the month to see what I’ve been reading and how God has been softening the rigid places in my heart and shaking me to action.

Join the SJC! Let’s read, act, and change together in 2010. Visit SJC HQ for details.

1. International Justice Mission Web site

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