Thursday, January 31, 2013

National Freedom Day Eve: Easy Ways YOU Can Help Fight Slavery

On February 1st, 1865, Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States constitution. It reads:

"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
The ratification of this amendment began a long overdue journey in this country to abolish slavery and give all citizens the chance to experience freedom. To honor the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment, we celebrate Freedom Day on February 1st. Though we have come a long way with regards to abolishing slavery, let us not stop the fight. It is estimated that there are still 27 million slaves in this world.

Some of them work for you in factories & quarries thousands of miles away... and you don't even know it. Slaves who contribute to the shirts you wear, the diamonds on your jewelry, the seafood in your plate, the smartphones you can't leave the house without, the coffee you can't wake up without.

An organization called Slavery Footprint has a survey online that shows you just how connected you are to slaves. It's really easy and takes no time at all. Becoming aware is the first step towards action. Made in a Free World is another organization committed to end forced labor. It doesn't matter where you get plugged in, just do! There are countless more organizations.

In addition to forced labor abroad, many of the 27 million work not far from us in forced prostitution. Atlanta is among the top cities in the country and the world for human trafficking. About 12,400 men purchase sex each month in Georgia alone. Half of those men end up exploiting an adolescent girl. The average age of a child first used in prostitution ranges between 11 and 14, with some as young as 9. I talked about it in an earlier post, so I'll try not to be too repetitive. It is crucial, though, that we are aware of the extent to which this happens daily, and how much these girls need our help.

Wellspring Living is an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to ending sexual slavery, and provides a safe place for those who escape it. In fact, it is the only organization that provides a comprehensive program to meet the needs of these girls. For more information about their history and mission, visit their website. They have called on everyone who is a part of the movement to end slavery to wear white tomorrow for Freedom Day.

That's easy enough, right? Just wear white tomorrow! White symbolizes purity - the restored purity and protection needed by victims of sexual abuse. If you do nothing else, pick something white to wear tomorrow. It's a simple way to show you care and are in this fight.

Another easy way to help out is by voting for Wellspring to receive a technology grant. Milner is giving away $35,000 to the non-profit who receives the most votes. The first round of voting ends TONIGHT (January 31st!). Help make sure Wellspring makes it to the final round! About 200 girls freed from prostitution are on a wait list to get into Wellspring's program. Wellspring is trying to expand to accommodate more girls, and this grant would help tremendously. All you have to do is vote! Go! Cast your vote!

CSEC Lobby Day is a week from today. It's a day when many will gather in Atlanta to talk to our legislators and encourage them to help put an end to sexual slavery. Find out what district you live in and who your legislators are, and send them a note or an email. You don't have to even physically be at Lobby Day, though it is a great opportunity to put all this into action. If you're interested, find out more on Wellspring's blog, or register at StreetGrace.

Most importantly, though, pray. We can do all these things, go through all these actions, spread the word to the ends of the world and back, but we go nowhere if we're not giving it to God. He knows what needs to be done, and He hurts more than we do that people are enslaved. Pray to Him. Pray for the slaves. Pray for the ones oppressing and enslaving. Only God can fully mend the broken hearts of the slaves, and only He can break the hearts of the ones responsible.

Make the issue of slavery a priority. Let's end it!