USA (MNN) — Though slavery has been outlawed in virtually every corner of the world, modern slavery continues to be a chronic problem. At present, an estimated 27 million people are trapped in modern slavery through forced labor, prostitution, and child exploitation.
Lucas Koach of Food for the Hungry says it’s time for a global response. And the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act speaks to the solution.
Introduced by Senators Bob Corken of Tennessee and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the bi-partisan bill brings a new approach to dealing with slavery and trafficking.
“This bill seeks to raise $1.5 billion to address the issue. More than 80-percent of it would come through matching funds from the private sector and foreign governments,” shares Koach.
“The initiative would call foreign governments into account to build and support their justice systems, their child protective systems, to report trafficking, and use every measure to bring it to an end. It brings the private sector into account also. Industries that often are inclined or readily disposed to exploit child labor or to perpetrate trafficking; this provides more accountability mechanisms within their supply chain and their practices to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Koach believes the public-private sector approach to change is a much needed one. “We need these systems so that all aspects of society — from government to civil society to community groups, [the] justice system, and certainly the private sector — are all on record and engaged.”
As Food for the Hungry advocates for the passage of the bill, it continues to focus on its own unique approach to the issue of modern slavery.
Koach explains, “Often times, trafficking is taking place where there’s no other means of income, and so the most vulnerable are readily exploited.”
For the ministry of Food for the Hungry, addressing trafficking includes helping provide alternative livelihoods, bringing proper health and sanitation to communities, ensuring food security, and creating ‘safe zones’ where kids and adults can come and learn about the tangible power of the Gospel.
As individuals and families develop their God-given potential and become self-sustaining, entire communities are transformed physical and spiritually.
The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act has been introduced, but movement to pass the bill has been slow. Koach believes it is the responsibility of citizens to learn more — and make their voices heard.
“Pray, and continue to pray that God will continue to give us a broken heart for these things. In our day-to-day lives, sometimes we can forget. Until we have that compunction in our heart to be in solidarity with those who are truly living in injustice and destitution, we won’t be able to move the needle at all. We pray that our hearts are softened and provoked as we seek and ask the Holy Spirit in and through the systems and leaders within our societies to make change.”
Koach encourages citizens to take advantage of what he calls an “explosive wealth of information on the dynamics and statistics of modern slavery. Educate yourself on the reality of the breadth and scope and insidiousness of modern trafficking, and even where it impacts your local community.”
Supporting the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act by contacting leaders is also essential. Koach reminds everyone that members of Congress want to hear from their constituents.
“Until Congress hears from enough people that this is an important issue, it won’t go anywhere. So we can write letters to our members of Congress to support the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act, and press for its passage.”