There are 27 Million slaves throughout the world. But before we, in Britain, point the finger we must ask why we tolerate 10,000 or more slaves in the United Kingdom today. We need stronger laws to rank human trafficking alongside kidnapping and murder. We also need more vigilance on the part of the police, officials, social workers and the public as a whole to spot the signs of workers in conditions of restricted liberty.
My dream is to see a world in which extreme poverty is eliminated. But there is a largely hidden problem which frustrates attempts to deal with economic poverty. A recent study pointed out that the number one problem that poor people face in developing countries is not starvation or disease but a fear of violence. Violence keeps people poor and prevents them bettering themselves and their families.
- Imagine living in a community where you are totally outside of the rule of law. Where the police force and courts only look after the well-off and the educated. Where law enforcement is under-funded and cannot cope with the multitude of crimes committed against the poor and the vulnerable. Where the police force and courts are corrupt and accept bribes from the guilty.
Bonded labour is the most common method of enslaving people around the world. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded to repay a loan. The person is then trapped into working for very little or no pay, often for seven days a week. Interest makes it impossible to pay the loan off and often debts are passed on to next generation.
They are forced to work to repay debts their employer says they owe, and they are not allowed to work for anyone else. Various forms of force are used to make sure they stay. In many cases they are kept under surveillance, sometimes under lock and key. Poverty and the threats of violence force many bonded labourers to stay with their masters, since they would not otherwise be able to eat or have a place to sleep.
Today the International Labour Organisation estimates a minimum 11.7 million people are in forced labour in the Asia-Pacific region, the majority of these are in debt bondage.
Bonded labour has existed for hundreds of years. It was used to trap labourers into working on plantations in Africa and the Caribbean – after the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
In South Asia it is rooted in the caste system and predominately affects Dalits (the lowest caste called Untouchables) and still flourishes in agriculture, brick kilns, mills and factories. In the Punjab region of India hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are forced to work as bonded labourers in quarries and brick kilns where they receive little or no pay in return for a loan typically used for survival.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
slave nor free,
male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 NIV)
Paul is often criticised for being pro-slavery and anti-women. But we need to distinguish between the truths he set out and how it was applied to the culture of the day. As a prophet he saw how things ought to be but he was a child of his culture and although what he said was revolutionary in its day, the full implications of what he said would need to wait for progressive revelation in future generations.
Take for instance the matter of slavery. It would take another 1800 years before men like Wilberforce came along and pointed out that slavery was morally and ethically indefensible. People have always considered that their country was superior and even in much of the 20th century, racism was considered normal. Likewise the world is still adjusting to the idea that men and women are created equal.
In this article we will look further into these words of Paul and seek to apply them to the 21st century.
Karl Marx obviously thought capitalism was a curse and considered that wealth should be controlled by the state for the benefit of all. But in an imperfect world communism failed to deliver and has virtually ceased to exist. Communism and capitalism are based on envy and greed respectively. In this article we will look at the plus side, and the negative side, of capitalism and ask the question, “is there a better way”?
This is a very difficult subject for me to write about. When I started researching I was so sickened by what I read that I only intend to write a short article and leave you to do your own research.
Institutional slavery has been abolished in every country of the world. And yet slavery, in various forms, is still a blight upon the human race. Millions live in conditions of slavery, or near slavery. Many of these are children, and the worst form of slavery for those children is slavery in the sex trade. There are millions of children throughout the world who are treated as slaves and abused by their owners, by their customers and by society at large. Continue reading “Child sex slavery”
The apostle Paul has been accused of discrimination against women, and of being supportive of slavery, amongst other things. But the fact is that he made some revolutionary statements considering the accepted wisdom and culture of his day, striking at the heart of discrimination. Let’s explore the matter further.
Throughout human history slavery has been an accepted feature of society. It has been in existence for thousands of years. All of the ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Aztecs, Assyrians, Persians, Babylonians and Romans were economically dependent on the institution of slavery. Continue reading “Paul and Slavery”
As he came near to the end of his time on earth, Jesus told his disciples that they would do what he did and “greater works” than him. This is quite an amazing statement. What are the “greater works’ for us to do. Signs and Miracles are an obvious contender, but are there other things for us to do which qualify? What about the abolition of slavery? What about fighting against injustice? What about feeding the hungry? Do these things qualify?
In this article I do not intend to negate a more conventional interpretation, but to add to it. Continue reading “Greater Works”
The desire for freedom is one of the most basic human needs. Wars and civil wars have been fought to seek freedom. This article explains how extreme poverty, and relative poverty, can be expressed as a lack of basic freedom.
Slavery involves a total lack of freedom over every aspect of life. A slave has no rights, no income and no hope of a better life. Extreme poverty means that in terms of freedom, people living under extreme poverty are virtual slaves to that poverty. They can no more set themselves free than a slave can, by self-effort, become a free man or woman. Even people living in relative poverty lack freedoms in various ways. Continue reading “Freedom from the slavery of poverty”
Is extreme poverty inevitable? Is it possible to eliminate it? Will we always have the poor among us or will people eventually say, “it is no longer acceptable to have others living this way”?
Jesus was in the home of Simon the leper. A woman came with a jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. Judas Iscariot objected and said the perfume, worth a years wages, could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
Jesus replied with a verse that is often misquoted, or quoted out of context.
“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me”
(John 12 verse 8) Continue reading “Will we always have the poor among us?”