Anti-Trafficking at The Justice Conference
I was honored to be asked to represent Micah Challenge USA at this years Justice Conference in Chicago.
I received a ‘pass’ to go to any of the pre-conference meeting as a media correspondent. I entered the Anti-Trafficking conference first. I looked around and saw people truly hungry for an end to this grave injustice, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
We learned some horrifying facts, like 25 countries harbor 80% of slaves worldwide, with the top countries being India, China, Pakistan and Russia. That this industry earns over 32 Billion (yes with a ‘B’) on the backs of an estimated 30 million people in slavery. Many were shocked to find out that people in slavery are not just victims of sex trafficking, but also are forced into labor (forced labor). This is a fact that is looked over often, but cannot be dismissed.
The facts were sobering, and the room felt very heavy when Jason Fileta, our director at Micah Challenge, stepped up to talk about what God has to say about human trafficking. Many people, in the room and otherwise, view human trafficking as a ‘side gig’ to the Gospel. But because God commands us to be a part of His work for Justice, freeing those enslaved is central to Gods character and mission.
God knew that left to our own devices, we would exploit each other. That is why we are called to be a part of the solution, because we are part of the problem. When Jason said, “Our lives are sustained by other people’s oppression, and we must repent of that.”
BOOM a truth bomb went off in the room.
I looked around to watch faces drop, even a few tears shed. Guilt, sorrow and lament filled our hearts. Because for some, this is the first time they heard that, and for some it is a cold reminder. Our clothes made in sweat shops, our food toiled by the hands of unpaid slaves, our cell phones made from natural resources taken by US companies with no compensation to the people it comes from, all these facts come to mind and wrap us in lament.
Right there Jason held a prayer over us. We prayed for forgiveness and willingness to change. He ended with an encouraging comment for us, “The response is not to live as a Justice Pharisee, but we need to respond as an act of worship. We need to rediscover worship as what we do with our daily lives.”
IF YOU FEEL THE WEIGHT OF THIS AND WANT SOME ACTION TO TAKE, HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS:
Shop ethically in order to ensure slaves aren’t used to make your items with our Ethical Shopping Guide.
Buy fair trade foods, or from companies who are ethical with our food guide.
Use Live Justly in your next small group study.
Advocate to end Human Trafficking by using our Advocacy 101 Guide.
Sign a petition to support the End Modern Slavery Act.
Head to SlaveryFootprint.org to find out how many slaves work for you.
Watch the famous new documentary call The True Cost which delves into the fashion industry’s unsavory practices.