In January, more than 60,000 college students converged on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the annual Passion Conference. At this conference, the End It Movement was born.
Over a decade ago, the United Nations estimated that more than a million children are trafficked into the global commercial sex trade every year; most of those children are 12-18-year-old girls. Right now, our best statistics estimate that more than 27 million people are enslaved around the world in factories, brothels, and mines. Revenue generated by human trafficking, or the trade of humans for labor or sexual exploitation, is second only to income from the sale of illegal drugs, and a huge percentage of that revenue comes from the sexual slavery of children.
This year at Passion, concern for enslaved people reached a crescendo when students – a demographic not usually known for its deep pockets – raised nearly $3.3 million to combat human slavery today.
Slavery isn’t an issue relegated to the slums of Mumbai or the brothels of Phnom Penh. In the United States, roughly 300,000 children are victims of human trafficking.
Some things in life are optional, but the church’s responsibility to confront slavery isn’t one of them. And Christians all over the world are awaking to this reality. Throughout Scripture, God emboldens His followers to be His hands and His feet. In order to be God’s limbs, we first have to have His heart.
God isn’t silent about His concern for the helpless and oppressed. When we refuse to ignore the abuse propagated by the slavery of children and adults, we’re joining God’s plan to “bring good news to the poor … heal the brokenhearted …[and] proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). When we shed the light of Christ on the devil’s bedroom, we affirm God’s commitment to uphold justice for the needy (Psalm 140:12). And when we work toward redemption and freedom for all people caught in bondage, our actions confirm that our faith is alive and well (James 2:20).
God doesn’t give His followers a “pass” when it comes to confronting slavery and human trafficking. When we speak for those who can’t speak for themselves – the runaway, the prostitute, the abused – we’re partnering with God to shower love on His children and give them hope for the future.
How do we open our eyes to the at-risk people in our schools, communities, and world? If Edmund Burke was right when he said that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” what does that mean for the church?
If you’re interested in learning more about the End It Movement, check out http://enditmovement.com/.