Luke Skywalker: "It could be worse." (*Pause*) Han Solo: "It's worse!"
The film Wilberforce has just been released in Australia, so now's a good time to talk about slavery. And the bad news is: "It's worse" - worse than I thought that is.
Consider these facts about the slave trade and trafficking in human beings, from the Stop the Traffik website:
- Trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are caught in the trap of slavery.
- At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide, 2.4 million as a result of human trafficking. More than three quarters are female and half are children.
- The majority of victims are the poorest people in the poorest countries.
- Human trafficking is the third largest source of income for organised crime, behind armaments and drugs trafficking. It is the fastest growing form of international crime, generating 7 billion dollars per year in criminal proceeds.
- People are trafficked into prostitution, begging, forced labour, military service, domestic service, forced illegal adoption, forced marriage etc.
Doubtless, like me, you are disgusted that 200 years after Wilberforce stopped slave trading into Great Britain, and 150 years after the US Civil War was fought to bring an end to slavery into the USA, all this is still happening.
Fortunately a coalition of social justice groups, clubs, schools, faith groups, businesses and charities in 40 countries is now fighting this problem. And we can all support them:
- Go to the Stop the Traffik website and sign the declaration.
- Buy Fair Trade and Traffik Free chocolate (12,000 children have been trafficked into cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire, which supplies half the world's chocolate).
- Write to a politician.
- Donate to one of the member organisations - e.g. Amnesty International, World Vision, Tearfund, etc.
- Tell other people about the problem, and the Stop the Traffik campaign.
I've removed the video that used to be here, but you can still watch it if you want to here.