Today, thousands will mark their hands with a bright red “X,” demonstrating their commitment to ending modern slavery. Since 2013, the END IT movement, a coalition of leading organizations committed to shining a light on slavery, which can include sex trafficking, bonded labor, and forced labor.
In many countries throughout the HOPE network, we serve a population that is vulnerable to human trafficking and forced labor. Traffickers prey on those living in poverty, and several of the countries in which we work have some of the most prominent human trafficking industries in the world. While HOPE does not work directly with anti-trafficking agencies, our work in poverty alleviation addresses many of the root causes of modern slavery. Our approach is to move upstream from the problem in an attempt to prevent the conditions and vulnerability that traffickers prey on. Here’s how:
1. Jobs create opportunities.
With few options to provide for their families, many people living in poverty willingly enter bonded labor. Or, they are baited with the promise of a job in another country, realizing upon arrival that they’ve been lied to. Even more tragically, families in destitute financial situations are often forced to give up one child to feed the rest of their family.* When families have meaningful work to support themselves, they are spared from making these kinds of decisions.
2. Work protects freedom.
When victims are freed from trafficking, they are often still caught in the cycle of poverty. Still reeling from emotional trauma and struggling to support themselves, many turn back to their traffickers as a means of survival. But when families are given the opportunity to sustain themselves, they aren’t forced to return to slavery in order to stay alive.
3. Business empowers women.
Globally, an estimated 11.4 million women are victims of human trafficking. In many countries, women hold little power, making it easy for traffickers to take advantage of them. Throughout the HOPE network, over 67 percent of clients are female. Where women have previously been disenfranchised, we seek to empower them to leap forward on the path out of poverty.
Ending modern day slavery requires immediate and long-term solutions for families struggling with the hard decisions of poverty. We’re committed to playing a role to eradicate modern slavery around the world by providing long-term solutions.
Along with the END IT movement, we continue to pray for freedom for the 27 million people trapped in slavery around the world today, believing fully that our Father desires freedom for each of His children.
“Oh Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that the man who is of earth may strike terror no more.” –Psalm 10:17-18
Photo Credit: End It Movement