I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

11 January 2013

The Girl Effect, part 30, slavery

Dictionary - Justice

January 11-13, 2013 has been set aside as a Weekend of Prayer to end human trafficking and slavery. This ecumenical event is meant to not only shed light on the issue but to also pray for victims, slave traders, “johns” and any affected by human trafficking.
Weekend of Prayer: Ending Human Trafficking and Slavery      
Weekend of Prayer
Prayer Guide

150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, buying and selling people into forced labor is bigger than ever...
The leading demographic accounts... a global slave population of between 20 million and 30 million  ...from South and Southeast Asia ...China, Russia, and the former satellite states of the Soviet Union. ..North Africa and the Middle East, including Lebanon. ...Africa.  ...the North Korean gulag system, which holds 200,000 people... ...After the earthquake... Haiti ...was quickly overrun with ...traffickers targeting children...
The Atlantic: Slavery's Global Comeback

H&M may have pledged not to “knowingly” use Uzbek cotton in its clothes, but labor-rights campaigners say the Swedish apparel giant isn’t doing enough to support an end to state-sponsored child labor in the Central Asian nation...
H&M Sourcing Child-Picked Uzbek Cotton, Claims Anti-Slavery Group

In its analysis of the 'List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor,' the US Department of Labor records just six countries (Argentina, China, India, Jordan, Malaysia and Thailand) where violations were found in garment production and five (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia) in footwear.

Compare this, for instance with gold (where 17 countries were found to use child or forced labour), sugarcane (15 countries), tobacco (15 countries), bricks (15 countries), coffee (13 countries), cattle (9 countries), rice (8 countries), and diamonds (7 countries).

Unfortunately, cotton continues to live up to its reputation for labour rights abuses, with the fact that 16 countries were found to be at fault...
2010 article: Viewpoint: Facing up to forced labour in apparel

"What we are seeing in India is that the middle class is doing better and better. They now have a lot of money, and therefore, they think they can buy whatever they want. ...treat personnel anyway they please," says Kant.

Kant also stressed that, India's major cities, like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata, the demand for cheap household labor is growing, too..
There are no reliable figures available on how many women and girls have been forced into slave-like ... situations. The Indian government says that in 2011 some 125,000 children had been rescued from forced labor... The numbers would be many times higher, argue human rights organizations, if young women over the age of 18 were included in the figures.
Deutsche Welle: Child slaves crowd the skeletons in India's closet

Though slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, members of organizations against slave labor define these sweatshops as “contemporary slave quarters.”

The workers union blames the retailers who sell products made by exploited workers, as contributing to the problem.
2011 article  - Brazil fights slave-like labor in the fashion industry

According to a new National Labor Committee report, an estimated 200 children, some 11 years old or even younger, are sewing clothing for Hanes, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, and Puma at the Harvest Rich factory in Bangladesh.

The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19-to-20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 ½ cents an hour. ... many of the child workers get up at 5:00 a.m. each morning to brush their teeth using just their finger and ashes from the fire, since they cannot afford a toothbrush or toothpaste...
Children Found Sewing Clothing For Wal-Mart, Hanes & Other U.S. & European Companies  (undated)

"By the late 1800s, social reformers had turned their attention most particularly to prostitution, drunkenness, and slavery---all three of which, it could be argued, affected women most directly. Many early suffragists--the forerunners of modern-day feminism---cut their teeth in the abolition movement.
...most of evangelicalism's early adherents would be proponents of the so-called social gospel, part of a movement that would turn Christians into social workers in the truest sense.
...But for a few minor points of disagreement, feminists and evangelicals seemed made for each other." - Susan Campbell, Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl , page 92

Often, in the modern Evangelical flavors that I grew up in, the ideas surrounding Christian Social Justice, Christian Environmentalism, Egalitarianism  and Feminism are seen as "Pinko Commies" or some such other derogatory terms that I won't get into here.

However, the ideas behind social justice, environmentalism and egalitarianism were founded in the very Bible-based beliefs of both Christians and Jews. Men and women have held these views, and furthered the cause towards better "Creation Care", many charities and houses for the orphans, widows, people working in dangerous workhouses, homes for women and children escaping prostitution, and the fight to stop slavery in Europe, and later the United States of America.

As Solomon once said "Nothing is new under the sun" - many of the ideas that are coming out in this day and age, the renewed social justice movement within Christianity, is actually a much older idea, which fed into the Temperance and Women's vote movements, and later the Civil Rights movement.  American Experience: The Abolitionists

If you are fortunate enough to have access to PBS, they are currently running a series on the abolitionists of the United States.  Many news organizations are discussing it, such as the Huffington Post:

...In the early decades of the 19th century, a religious revival spread across the United States. For some, the promise that anyone could attain salvation through a commitment to Christ led to an optimism that society, like an individual, could be brought to perfection....
Huffington Post:  Angelina Grimk√©'s Evangelical Passion To End Slavery

You may be surprised, if you are unfamiliar with your history, that many of the abolitionists were Christians of some denomination or another. Many were also Jewish. Some were deists, while still others were agnostic or atheists.

We don't much talk about that in our history classes though. Or, rather, we never did in the schooling I had - whether it was when I was public schooled, private schooled, in DOD school or homeschooled. I mean, we knew in passing that some people who fought slavery were Jewish or Christians - but we did not really just dig into that aspect of the lead up to the American Civil War / War between the States.

I knew about the likes of Louisa May Alcott and her family. I'm a rather huge fan of Louisa's and let's just say any time I find something of hers that I have not read before, I go all fangirl and must snap it up immediately.

You might be surprised to hear, that I'd never heard of Anglina Grimk√© until this past fall, when I started reading several books about the injustices that many Christian women face in our shared faith.  While I knew about the Temperance movement, it was not until I had actually sat and watch the PBS production (three part, each around 53 minutes long) about the Temperance and Prohibition movement last year. I did not know about the theology, doctrine and prejudice surrounding much of what became both of these movements. I did of course know of the Temperance movement, the Prohibition, Tee-totalism (you sort of figure it out when you ask "What are wet / dry counties?" when you are a kid) and such - and I'd heard some terms used before that surround those movements - but I'd never actually read anything much about it other than a few paragraphs in history class.

I had thought we had come a long way, until these past couple of years of living abroad. It's really not that I was ignorant. I believe it was partly because I was so steeped in it and I would tune it out for my own sanity, and partly because of the intense spiritual abuse that I'd had, that I really only would pay attention to Jewish or Messianic things for a long time.

When I moved here, I slowly became aware of the huge organic market, and that the market here is often fair trade. Anything that can be bought commercially, is available with ethical concerns taken into account.  This was far different than how things were when I lived at home in my hometown of ten years, and my mom's hometown that we just simply call "home". (We lived a rather transient life, so Grandma's = Home)  

I now see a growing movement in the young (18-30 yr old) christian movement towards being inclined again to Social Justice, Environmentalism, Gentle Attachment Parenting, and Abolitionism. I do not at all believe this is aberrant behavior, communist, fascist, socialist or any other term that makes these people (self included) as the evil "other". I believe wholly, that this is where G-d has  wanted us all along, we just stuck with our own pet dogma and stopped our ears. We blame-shifted. We blamed the victims instead of helping them.  And the generation that would be either great-grandchildren or great-great grandchildren are stepping up to do the job their ancestors began so long ago.

If you don't believe my word, how about a few newspaper articles to make you think during these three days of prayer to end slavery?

More than 60,000 young Christians packed the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for worship and inspiration at the Passion 2013 conference that wrapped up on Friday. They came together from 56 countries and 2,300 universities, according to organizers, “to shine a light on modern-day slavery.”

“We believe when you fill a dome full of people who say they follow Jesus, there should be some tangible action,” said Bryson Vogeltanz, chief steward of Passion’s freedom initiative. That tangible action came in the form of tens of thousands of towels and socks donated by conference-goers to be handed out at local homeless shelters in the weeks following the conference.
CNN: College students raise funds to fight slavery

"It looks a little different here in the States than it does around the world," said Bryson Vogeltanz, chief steward of the Passion 2013 Freedom Initiative. "But it's true, girls are being bought and sold against their will here in Atlanta. Sex trafficking and slavery are realities right here in our city."
Passion 2013 tackles sex trafficking, slavery

“End It Movement” is working with seven different organizations that work to end slavery in the world. The movement is seeking for people to get involved and help to spread the word to everyone. The movement is working to bring slavery to an end. Slavery still exists in the world, even in the United States, despite the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution.

The movement encourages everyone to take a look at its website, to share it with others via social media as well as by word-of-mouth, to give financially to support the cause and be active in seeking to bring an end to slavery.
Movement Started to Fight Modern Day Slavery

Some sites you might find interesting
International Justice Mission  

1 comment:

  1. So glad I saw this today- I'm going to set my DVR to tape The Abolitionists. That's something I"ve been thinking about a lot lately, especially in regard to our current gender equality issues.