According to researchers, between 24 and 36 million people are enslaved worldwide—some in the United States. 78% are in forced labor, 26% are children, and 22% are sex slaves. Experts say we unknowingly benefit from slavery in our homes, offices, and schools from many of the products we buy. Slaves harvest coal in West Africa, which ends up in our chocolate. Slaves make charcoal in Brazil, which runs smelters to make steel for our cars. Slaves help process tomatoes, tuna, shrimp, cotton, diamonds, iron, sugar, and gold. According to a report by our U.S. Department of Justice, slaves in our country are often recruited in other lands and promised a good job in the U.S. if they pay a fee of about $6,000. To get the money, some sell all they own. Once here, things change: less pay, long hours, and exorbitant fees. This leaves them in huge debt and abusive slavery. Even though in Bible days, God tolerated human slavery under certain conditions, He never sanctioned it. We read in Ezekiel chapter 34 that God promised the ancient people of Israel that the day would come when He would end slavery. He said, “When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the LORD. They will no longer be prey for other nations.” God created us to have freedom of choice. We should do all we can to respect that freedom, to help liberate people from forced labor, forced sex, or child slavery.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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