The Call to End Slavery: Freedom Sunday, Sept. 25
There is a delusion in the American church that slavery no longer exists. It is spoken of as a historical battle, fought by those like William Wilberforce and Fredrick Douglass, a victory achieved long ago. However, there are currently 45.8 million people held in slavery worldwide. Two million of those are children in the sex trade, according to the International Justice Mission (IJM) website.
Freedom Sunday, an event organized by IJM, aims to dispel this illusion that slavery doesn’t exist anymore.
On September 25, 400 churches around the world will be focusing their services on freedom. From the worship music to the sermon, IJM is working alongside churches to inform Christians about how much slavery thrives in the modern era.
While the magnitude of the problem seems overwhelming and unsolvable, IJM refuses to admit defeat. Freedom Sunday is the opportunity for churches to learn the facts and lead the way according to Eileen Campbell, Senior Director of Advocacy and Mobilization for IJM.
“Christians have the opportunity to make history,” Campbell said. “In 30-50 years can we look back and say it was the body of Christ that helped end slavery?”
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Not every church needs to start its own program. The most powerful and effective way to end slavery is for Christians to come alongside those already freeing people and transforming lives.
“When Christians come together and are fueled by that fire, it can be unstoppable,” Campbell said.
The reason the possibility of ending slavery is feasible is that, for the first time, slavery is illegal in every country. It was not and is not possible to catch every slave-owner. Yet that is no longer the only way to end slavery.
IJM works with locals to make officials enforce their laws and provide disincentive to those who might join the slave-trade. Though this new method brings hope, it also requires responsibility.
“Once it becomes possible, it becomes imperative,” said Campbell.
Not only is IJM confident that slavery can be ended through legal means but also because rescues are happening daily.
One of Campbell’s favorite stories is the story of Kumar, who was forced to work in a brick factory. When IJM worked with local law enforcement they were able to free Kumar. After his rescue, IJM social workers made sure that Kumar got to school, something he was never able to do in bonded labor. Now he is in college.
Churches around the world will dedicate their services on September 25 but those interested in getting their churches involved with IJM can host their own Freedom Sunday on another date. IJM is willing to work with congregations -- providing the materials they need and walking them through the steps of hosting a Freedom Sunday.
In addition, the House of Margaret Thatcher is beginning its first year of partnering with IJM and will host future events for King’s students to have the opportunity to learn more.