“It has been called by a great many names, and it will call itself yet another, and all of us better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume.” – Frederick Douglass
The above quote is by a man all to familiar with the despicable and ungodly act we know as slavery. He was a man born into slavery in the United States and escaped to freedom and became the leader of the Abolitionist Movement.. He was a living example that flew in the face of the slave owners who contended that slaves didn’t have the intellectual capacity to function as independent citizens. Douglass was a brilliant writer, speaker, and a man who did something about the problem he was once oppressed by.
When we think of slavery, we tend to think of it as a thing of the past. Come to think of it, every major work on the subject was written from the point of view that it was the past. There are quite a few embarrassing spots in the Church’s history in regards to slavery, as well. Many “Christians” defended this abhorrent practice and used the Scriptures to justify the enslavement and torture of millions of men, women, and children. With the issue of the “Emancipation Proclamation” on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln freed 3.1 million of the nations 4 million slaves to a life of freedom they’d never experienced before. Slavery was over…or so we thought.
There is a disturbing trend emerging on our own doorstep that should make the people of God a little uncomfortable: “About 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year and about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs, a new report on human trafficking in the state said last Wednesday“ (CBS News). As Frederick Douglass said in the above quote, this old monster has assumed a new form: human trafficking, and the state of Ohio is at ground zero. But Ohio is not the only place.
The Polaris Project estimates upwards of 27 million children in the sex-slave trade world-wide. The F.B.I. estimates around one hundred thousand (100,000) children ranging in age from nine to nineteen, with the average age of eleven are sold into the sex trade in the United States (abcnews.com). Eight hundred thousand men, women, and children are trafficked across International Borders annually (Polaris Project).
So what’s the solution? How do we help? This seems like a HUGE problem that just a few people can’t fix,..let us not forget, however, that one person is all it takes to start the tipping of the scales from oppression to justice. We have to commit to James 4:17 which says,
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
The Bible is clear. Slavery is wrong! The kind of “slavery” mentioned in the Bible would be our equivalent of a butler or maid…not the oppression, starvation, and abuse of modern-day slavery. The people willingly became slaves—it was actually one of the first bankruptcy laws in history….but they were willing, not forced.
Erwin Lutzer writes about a church in Nazi Germany during the second world war. Their congregation was right by the railroad. Every Sunday morning the trains full of Jews passed by on the way to concentration camps, and they could hear the screaming of the Jewish people—the agony and torture. What did they do? They sang louder to drown out the sound so they wouldn’t hear it! Are you kidding me? Sang louder to ignore it? But that’s what we do today…
Ephesians 5:11 says this:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
The church has, for some reason, decided to not take part in social issues anymore…and I think the world is the way it is because of that. We “sing louder” so we don’t have to deal with reality. We create and live in our own little worlds where it hardly ever rains. Will our congregations sit by and just ignore what’s going on all around us? Will we be silent and let darkness take hold in the cruelest form of abusing children? I cannot. You cannot. Does God not hear when the oppressed cry out? Does He not respond in judgment when His people ignore the cries of the prisoners, the sick, and the oppressed? May God give us the Abolition spirit. May we do something to help.