There are many systemic trends that drive modern-day slavery. Poverty may be one of the most daunting. Implicitly, we understand that the answer to poverty is employment — jobs that are stable, equitable, and attainable. It is also understood that nations with weak economies have a tougher time creating and maintaining the kind of environments where gainful employment can thrive. I could speak on this issue further, but most people began to roll their eyes and tune out at this point. What saddens me is that these are the issues affecting global poverty, human trafficking, and financial pain for millions of people around the world — and yet the Church of Jesus tends to take a back seat to these larger macro-economic discussions.
All of this was going through my mind as I sat at Passion 2012. It was not the first time that I heard about the global injustice of modern-day slavery, nor was it the first time I felt the call to do something about it. But it was the first time I received something of a clear direction from God on how I could be a part of the solution. I felt that Jesus was asking me to go back to UNF and study Economics. It will be a few years before I complete my studies, and I am still figuring out exactly where all of it will lead.
But I know one thing with complete certainty:
The Church of Jesus needs to get smarter about global economic issues. Justin Dillon spoke about this briefly at Passion 2013. The connection between the products we buy and the potential of slave labor producing those products cannot be emphasized enough. Buying fair trade is a good start, learning about how many slaves work for you at slaveryfootprint.org is even better. But we need to go further. We need to learn more. We need to pay attention to what is happening throughout the world on an economic level and have a deeper understanding of how people on the ground are affected.
Yes, we need Christ-followers who have a Bible in one hand, and a Wall Street Journal in another. We need missionaries who will move to impoverished and emerging nations to teach former slaves how to excel in accounting and finance, so that they can help build better economies for their people. We need prayer warriors who will start multi-national corporations with a vision of taking care of their employees, who then in turn will find better solutions to their financial woes than selling their children. We need women and men who love Jesus AND out of that love, find a way to bring economic justice to the least of these.
I am joining with Passion and the End it Movement as well as Campus to City Wesley Foundation and They Matter to shine a light on the issue of modern-day slavery. If human trafficking is going to end we will need a diverse army of abolitionists. This is the journey that I am on, and I hope you will consider how you can be a part of bringing freedom to the captives.