What Can We Do to Fight Modern-Day Slavery?

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"As freed slaves, we should have a heart for those who continue in bondage — whether spiritual or physical."

If you are a believer, be reminded that you were a slave. Jesus redeemed you from that slave master called sin. And he has given us freedom. Therefore, as freed slaves, we should have a heart for those who continue in bondage — whether spiritual or physical. In many cases, it’s both.

It should be our desire to continue in the path that Jesus set out for us in his earthly ministry: to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18).

An amazing thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it’s a message not only for the oppressed, but also for the oppressors; not only to the victim, but to the perpetrators. Remember, you must “love your enemies.” And don’t forget that God saved Saul of Tarsus, who was persecuting the church. Our gut response would be, “Free the slaves, and to hell with the cruel criminals who are keeping them in bondage.” But the gospel goes beyond that.

The good news of Jesus crucified for sinners and victorious over death is a message of hope for both the slave and the human trafficker.

In reality, the human trafficker is a slave as well. The predators are slaves to lust, power, money and all kinds of perversion. The pimps, the predators, the pedophiles, the traffickers, the enslavers are shackled with bonds of a different kind. So as Christians, we ought to pray for them. We ought to pray for the sex tourists who travel the world exploiting women and children. We ought to pray for the business owners who are taking advantage of their employees. The gospel is a message of hope for all who will repent and believe.

Five Ways to Fight Evil

Now, apart from praying for supernatural conversion of the oppressor, what else can we do to fight against the international epidemic of modern-day slavery?

I have at least five practical action points in mind for the Christian community. I understand that God calls us to various areas of ministry, and we are not all obligated to engage in every area of need. But I do hope to make us aware, and to call many Christians to action, in opposition to this grave evil in our world.

1. Pray for the victims. 

Pray for the estimated 27 million slaves in our world today who are in bondage within affluent countries like America to third-world countries like Haiti.

2. Raise awareness. 

Raising awareness about this issue may not sound like an action point, but it is an extremely important component in tackling slavery. People need to know that this is happening, so it can be reported and prosecuted. One way to be aware is to read relevant material, for example, The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales.

Ben Reaoch Ben Reaoch is the pastor of Three Rivers Grace Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, and is the author of Women, Slaves, and the Gender Debate (P&R, 2012).

More from Ben Reaoch or visit Ben at http://www.desiringgod.org

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