149 Less Slaves

I recently shared a documentary on [theo]culture about the mission to rescue more than 27 million men, women, and children from a life of slavery.

That’s right. Slavery.

It isn’t just a dark era is history past. Today, in this country and abroad, people are purchased and sold like animals.

Most of us are oblivious. We’re too busy checking Facebook. And the major news outlets, with the exception of CNN, would rather talk about Lindsay Lohan’s latest bender than bring attention to this modern-day tragedy.

Thankfully, there are organizations on the ground actually making a difference. International Justice Mission, one of the organizations behind the documentary, released some encouraging news this weekend.

With the help of affiliate human rights group, Jana Jagriti Kendra, 149 men, women, and children were released from captivity in Hyderabad, India. You can read the full article here.

The men and women shared how they had been physically beaten and forced to work 18 to 22 hours a day – sleeping for an hour or two and then resuming their back-breaking work in the brick kiln. A pregnant woman told how she had pleaded for rest when she was pregnant; instead, she was kicked by her manager. One man had raw wounds so deep that the bone showed through.

Their grueling work schedule permitted them little time to eat; the workers were so malnourished that after they ate their first full meal in a long time, many of them vomited. They had been trapped in the factory for three to seven months.

It’s hard to believe these words were written in 2013.

Thank God for organizations like IJM and JJK. There is a world of difference between caring about slavery and actually doing something about it.

This is IJM’s Core Commitment:

In the tradition of heroic Christian leaders like abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM’s staff stand against violent oppression in response to the Bible’s call to justice (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

And this isn’t just a thoughtful mission statement, cute words they pin up on a wall to make themselves feel good. They live by these words.

This is what happens when theology moves from the mind to the heart and out through the hands and feet.

Sure, I have prayed for the enslaved, and while I believe prayer is powerful, there is a reason the scriptures talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus. Talk is cheap. There is actual work to be done.

So what can we do?

  1. Get familiar. Read up on what is happening around us.
  2. Get vocal. Spread awareness. Remember, silence equals consent.
  3. Get involved. Partner with worthy organizations like International Justice MissionLove 146, A21, and The CNN Freedom Project.

Let’s work to put an end to slavery. Unless you have something more important to do.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Start a discussion in the comments section below.

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