January
15
Author
Molly Hodson
Help make 'Slave-Free' Normal

This is a guest post from Molly Hodson of IJM UK:


Just before Christmas, 52 women, men and children were rescued from slavery in an urgent operation by police in partnership with International Justice Mission (IJM). They had endured unspeakable violence for years on the ginger farm in South India - 17-hour work days, confinement, beatings with horse whips, and rampant sexual abuse. The children, all under 10, were locked up in a shed whilst their parents were forced to work.

Five suspects were arrested and charged. IJM will support the rescued survivors in a two-year aftercare programme to help overcome trauma and the Indian government will provide starter funding to help them begin building a new life in freedom.

Today, over 40 million people are trapped and exploited in slavery. Many are harvesting, making and mining everyday products for people to use around the world - including here in the UK. In fact, before most of us get to lunchtime, we could have used a product made by someone in slavery – everything from mobile phones to coffee, clothes, chocolate and makeup.

Right now, many of us are making the most of the New Year sales but what is the true cost of these rock-bottom prices? The hidden scandal on our shop shelves is that slavery is lurking in so many supply chains.

In fact, the Ethical Trading Initiative reports that ‘71% of (UK) companies believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some stage in their supply chains’.

Slavery impacts all of us, every day. It’s a global problem that requires a global solution,

International Justice Mission (IJM) is the largest international anti-slavery organisation. We partner with local authorities to rescue victims of slavery and violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. What we’ve found is that slavery dramatically decreases when anti-slavery laws are enforced.

Our global team has spent more than 20 years on the front lines fighting some of the worst forms of slavery and violence. To date IJM has helped rescue over 45,000 people and helped convict many slave-owners and traffickers so that they can’t harm others.

In the UK, IJM has launched a campaign to make ‘Slave-Free’ normal in the supply chains of the products we buy. The campaign shows how we as individuals - and churches – can be part of stopping people from being violently abused to produce the everyday goods we buy.

Here are three ways that you and your church can help make #Slave Free Normal.

  1. Buy from brands who are taking active steps to stop slavery in supply chains. Use resources such as Ethical Consumer, and the Fashion Transparency Index to see how brands rank in their commitment to clean up their supply chains and uphold good practises. You can download Apps like Good On You so that you can check brands on the go while shopping.
  2. Raise your voice. Challenge the brands that you love. Corporates listen to what matters to their customers. Ask your favourite brands what actions they are taking to stop slavery and exploitation in their supply chains. Looking for inspiration? Check out IJM’s example emails here.
  3. And last- but by no means least- you can be part of sending rescue and stopping slavery at source by supporting organisations like IJM who are on the ground. Become an IJM Freedom Partner.

Slavery in supply chains may be normal right now, but our choices and voices carry power. Together, we can make ‘slave-free’ the new normal. Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime.

How you can pray with IJM:

- Pray for survivors, like the 52 men, women and children recently rescued in India.

- Pray for governments, law enforcement and corporates to take action to tackle slavery at source.

- Pray for IJM’s teams on the ground, who are courageously fighting for freedom day in, day out.

Find out more: www.ijmuk.org