Most people in North America believe that slavery ended when Abraham Lincoln abolished it as the president of the United States. But what these same people do not realize is that slavery still exists today, and experts believe that it is worse today than it ever has been in human history. They estimate that between 27 and 30 million people worldwide are modern-day slaves. And what’s more, slaves exist in every major city in North America. This is not a problem that exists “somewhere else.” It is here and it is now.
The most common reasons that people are enslaved today involve economic reasons. Globalization has created more opportunities than ever before for people to move across the world, and there are evil people in this world who take advantage of that. Impoverished people across the world are so desperate to survive, they allow themselves to be lured in by false promises of a better life. Their captors then traffic them to another country before they know what is happening to them.
When people hear about child soldiers, debt bondage, and forced marriage, they are actually hearing about slavery. Women are often abducted and sold into the sex trade. A common misconception in Canada is that women who are in the sex trade choose to be in it, but it has been said that “A lot of the girls in brothels never meant to be in brothels. They got there because someone threatened and forced them into it.” And this does not happen only in undeveloped nations. The 2008 movie Taken, starring Liam Neeson, highlights the situation of women being abducted in Western Europe and sold into the sex trade.
In Canada, human traffickers peddle young girls to work as sex slaves for as little as $2,000. If this seems unlikely, simply Google “Montreal,” “escort service,” and “young girls.” Young girls have been taken from places like Cameroon and sent as slaves to the states of Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. In addition, many people will remember the scandal involving Craigslist in 2009, where it was brought to light often that their “escort service” was little more than a façade for sex trafficking.
It is true that trafficking happens in Canada, but Canada is also a place of transit. People are brought to Canada from other nations, and then transported to their destination. There are people in Canada working to combat this disgrace to civilization. Conservative MP Joy Smith has been one of the leading activists against human trafficking in Canada, and has recently submitted a private bill requiring a minimum sentence for those caught involved in human trafficking. There are many organizations that are dedicated to ending human trafficking. Not for Sale, Exodus Cry, International Justice Mission, and others are solely devoted to freeing those in slavery in today’s world.
Condoleeza Rice once said, “Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our time.” Human trafficking is an atrocity that must end as soon as possible. People were never meant to be owned by other people. As Christians, there is a clear calling to fight injustice, and to be Christ’s earthly aids in doing everything possible to free those who are in bondage.