Modern-day Slavery: A Sign of the Times?

By Richard Young | Posted July 17, 2023

It’s an all-too-common story.

A young girl from a “developing nation” is offered—either by a stranger or even by someone she knows—an opportunity to escape grinding poverty. Thinking that she will get work as a waitress, as a maid in a fancy hotel, or perhaps even as a model, the girl is lured away, often to another country, where she discovers that she is actually being trafficked, forced to work for almost no wages in inhumane conditions. She has been turned into a slave with little means and little chance to escape her plight.

Or worse, she is forced into the sex trade, perhaps in a brothel, where her body is sold to demented buyers. Sometimes these girls are not even in their teens.

This is the world depicted in the recent film Sound of Freedom, which stars Jim Caviezel, who notably portrayed Jesus in Passion of the Christ. The Sound of Freedom film has generated controversy in the media, with some calling its depiction of child sex slavery as little more than an overblown conspiracy. Still, it has surprised box office analysts with its grassroots campaign, landing it for a time as the number-one movie in the United States.

But is what the film depicts actually happening? Are there really people so degraded by sin that they are trafficking children for cash?

A Dismal Reality

Those who have recently traveled interstate highways in the United States and stopped at rest areas have likely seen those ubiquitous posters that warn about human trafficking. Some posters, featuring big, bold letters, say things like, “Help Stop Human Trafficking,” while offering warning signs that someone is being trafficked and a hotline to call.

So, yes, human trafficking is real.

However, with this crime against humanity being practiced underground, exact numbers revealing its extent are hard to come by. According to The Human Trafficking Institute, “which exists to decimate modern slavery at its source,” the International Labor Organization (ILO) claims that there were “24.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world. The report uses the term ‘forced labor’ to describe the forms of exploitation commonly referred to as human trafficking. … The 24.9 million figure includes both sex trafficking, or commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor exploitation, both in the private sector and state-imposed.”

In other words, the number of human trafficking victims is nearly the entire population of Australia (25,724,000).

Yet these are just numbers. Behind every number is a human being, often a child—scared, hurting, and exploited in ways most of us don’t want to imagine.

A recent report by the United Nations said that “the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.”

The Social Media Factor

According to a recent report, Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody, invited social media giant Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, to testify before Florida’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Why? Because many believe that Facebook and other social media platforms are being used by traffickers in their trade.

According to one local Florida news outlet, “Since 2019, Moody said more than half of all reported instances of social media platforms being used in Florida human trafficking cases involved platforms owned by Meta, such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.”

It’s not just Florida. Said the news report, “According to the 2022 Federal Human Trafficking Report, Facebook was the top platform used in recruitment of human trafficking victims from 2019 to 2022. Facebook and Instagram combined to make up 60% of the top ten platforms included in the study.”

Should we be surprised that platforms designed for the public to share and enjoy pictures of families, friends, and vacations are being used this way by heartless criminals?

Humanity’s Inhumanity

At the beginning of the 20th century, many believed that the world was on the cusp of a wonderful future—thanks to, supposedly, science, technology, and logic having obliterated the “last superstitions of mankind.” Instead, as we all know, that century brought World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, among other evils.

Thus, none of the evils afflicting this world should be surprising. The apostle Paul wrote that the people in his age were already “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful” (Romans 1:29, 30). 

He also spoke about people living at the end of the world: “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1–5).

Who can deny Paul’s depictions of humanity in the light of child trafficking? Sadly, the Bible says that the unregenerate human condition is only going to make things worse going forward, not better. The world is going to face “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1)—and surely modern-day slavery is a sign of what’s to come.

That’s why we should put our hope in the promise of the Second Coming, when God Himself will bring an end to this evil and all other evils. To learn more about this hope, check out Pastor Doug’s study “Ultimate Deliverance.

While we wait for Jesus to return, Christians must do all that we can to help those in need and to make our broken world a better place. Let us each pray to ask God what He would have us do to end the victimization of children on such a colossal scale.

Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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