According to the information on their website – “Free the Slaves works with frontline partners in six countries. We promote holistic, sustainable solutions that are developed by community members themselves. We help communities assert their basic rights, and we share success stories so others can see what’s working.”
I just discovered this ministry and I am fascinated by their approach to freeing people from debt-based slavery. Many of the people they work with find themselves in slavery based on someone’s claim that the village owes a debt. In most cases the debt was faked or has been paid off for years. Free the Slaves starts with something simple – a transitional school for the children in these families. The families insist that their children go to school rather than working. From there, they teach the women skills that allow them to create a home-based business. They encourage and assist the citizens in creating a network of support which begins to build a sense of confidence that enables people to move themselves to a place of independence. The home-based business component is key because these families could find themselves falling back into a debt-based slavery situation if they are not able to take care of their financial needs.
The other component they deal with is supply chain economics. Most of us, without even realizing it, purchase products that involved some form of slave labor to create it. Technology components, cocoa and more have been clearly linked to slave labor somewhere in the world. Free the Slaves contacts government officials to educate them about what works to discourage the use of slave labor and what doesn’t and to encourage them to demand corporate disclosure. A recent law, which FTS refers to as the “conflict minerals rule“, requires companies that use a certain group of minerals – specifically tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold – to disclose where those minerals come from. These minerals can all be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where slave labor is used to obtain those minerals.
Kevin Bales, author of “Disposable People”, believes that it is possible to wipe out slavery in the next 30 years. But it isn’t going to happen unless everyday people get involved by contacting their government officials and demanding that we, as a nation, start taking action. Bales has been quoted as saying that billions of dollars are spent combating homicide in American and a fraction of that is spent battling slavery even though more humans are enslaved every year than the number of people that are killed every year.
Check out the Free the Slaves website to find ways that you can get involved.
Yes, I’ve thrown a number of websites at you. I have my favorites as do other members of my family. Pick a website that really captures your attention and take steps to get involved. I don’t care how you take a stand/make a difference/get involved just do something!! There are 27 million people who desperately want to experience the freedom that you and I take for granted every day but they can’t achieve without our help.
I know how I intend to get involved. I’d LOVE to hear back from some of you about what you are doing!