When the term slavery comes up in today’s culture, it is easy to think of it as a crime of the past. But in fact, it is the exact opposite. The estimated number of slaves around the world today is around 40 million, which is higher than it was when slavery was legal throughout the 19th century. And the number of enslaved people is constantly increasing. Today, slavery is the fastest growing crime in the world (End It Movement).
The most common form of slavery today is human trafficking. Human trafficking is the “illegal trade of human beings. It’s the recruitment, control and use of people for their bodies and for their labor” (A21). There are many different forms of human trafficking, but they all involve people being forced into a form of work against their will. And out of the four million people in the world that are enslaved today, one out of four is a child.
It is also easy to think about slavery only being an issue in foreign or third world countries, but it is very much a crime in the United States, and especially, in Atlanta. Atlanta is currently the largest hub in the country for human trafficking (News Sky). Having the busiest airport in the world allows for so much human trafficking to be made possible in Atlanta. However, due to the still increasing airport security and the training of “every one of its thousands of employees to spot the sign of a potential [trafficking] victim, the Hartsfield Jackson Airport is working hard to end the trafficking of people through airports” (News Sky).
Some of the signs to look for include: people not in control of their personal documents, anxiety, poor signs of physical health, poor signs of mental health and knowledge of poor living or working conditions.
When Atlanta hosted Super Bowl LIII, security inside the Atlanta perimeter was heavier than ever. The placing of police at almost every intersection and street in Atlanta allowed for the exposure of many human trafficking situations. 170 people were caught and are being prosecuted for human trafficking.
Although the number of people enslaved is large, many people are working to shrink this number all over the world. Non-profits such as: The End It Movement, A21, Agape International Missions, the International Justice Mission, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Polaris and many others are trying to shrink this number each day.
The End It Movement is a nonprofit based out of Atlanta and it partners with Passion City Church to spread the word and raise awareness for modern day slavery. “It has been so humbling to see how the organization has grown over the years. The Lord has provided abundantly for us and it has been such a blessing to see how far the movement has impacted people all around the world. Each year, more people are impacted by it and more people are standing up and joining the fight against modern day slavery,” said End It Movement employee, Morgan Sangster.
End It Movement is one of the biggest slavery non-profits in the Atlanta area and throughout the country. “All of our advertising is done by word of mouth. We use social media platforms and really count on people to tell others about the issue of modern-day slavery,” said Sangster.
End It Movement devotes an entire day to “shining a light on slavery.” On Feb 7, people all over the world draw red X’s on their hand to show that they are in the fight to end modern day slavery.
The movement has grown drastically throughout the past few years, and it is now endorsed by celebrities, professional athletes and many others. The End It Movement is even making its way up into the government as well. The CEO of the International Justice Mission Gary Haugan was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7 (Fox News). President Donald Trump attended the breakfast and commented on the work that IJM and other ministries are doing to end slavery. “You are truly doing the Lord’s work, rescuing people from the bondage of human trafficking,” said Trump.
Ministries like IJM, End It Movement and A21 have a plan of attack for ending human trafficking. For example, the non-profit A21’s operational strategy is made up of three steps: Reach, Rescue and Restore. Reach helps to reduce vulnerability by making people more aware through events, presentations and education programs. The rescue aspect is exactly what it sounds like: working closely with law enforcement, identify victims, assist in prosecution, represent survivors and collaborate with the government and other NGOs to end slavery. The last step is restoration. Restore is meant to empower the survivors by providing things like, housing, medical treatment, counseling, education and employment (A21).
It is easy to feel like there is nothing that we can do to help people in human trafficking situations, but there is more to do than one might think. Just by helping spread the word, we can help companies help people out of the rising epidemic that is human trafficking right here in our own city.