Over the past fifty years there has been a population explosion within third world nations. With millions of economically and socially vulnerable people around the world, the "supply" of potential slaves today makes them cheaper than they’ve ever been in the history of the world. An average slave in the American South in 1850 cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today's money; today a slave costs an average of $90. Because they can be had so cheaply, they are of little value to the traffickers. If slaves get sick or injured or merely outlive their usefulness they are often dumped or killed.
What can be done to end this global tragedy? Ken Bales, a sociologist and expert on modern-day slavery, believes that human trafficking could be eliminated within a generation if three things were to happen:
1. Public awareness has to grow, and there has to be public agreement that it is time to end slavery once and for all. This public commitment must be communicated to politicians.
2. Money needs to be spent to eradicate slavery, but not nearly as much as you might think. For the price of a bomber or a battleship, the amount of slavery in the world could be dramatically reduced.
3. Governments must enforce their own anti-slavery laws. To make this happen every country has to understand that they must take action or face serious pressure. We all know about the United Nations weapons inspectors, who enforce the Conventions against Weapons of Mass Destruction, but where are the United Nations Slavery Inspectors? When the same effort is put behind searching out and ending slavery, there will be rapid change.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, British and American evangelicals were the leaders of the abolition movement. It’s time that modern-day evangelicals once again take our place in the struggle against slavery. In order to do that, however, we must become better informed, we must lobby our government to act, and we must raise up leaders who will become the Harriet Tubmans and William Wilberforces of the twenty-first century. We must take up the task of leading the next great abolition movement.