I was fortunate enough in the last couple of weeks to visit Charleston and Savannah. Both cities located in the South of the United States of America and cities who owed a lot of their prosperity in the early to mid-1800s to work of slaves. In Charleston slaves were opening bought and sold in open air markets. Today these same markets are used to sell overpriced art works and crafts. Or at least they are probably overpriced to be honest I couldn’t spend too much time in the market area because of the “ghosts” of past activities that occurred there.
This market place made me ponder if anything had changed today. While we probably don’t see the open flaunting of slave sells there are approximately 21 million people caught in modern day slavery. More than any time in history! Much of modern day slavery is perpetuated by the consumerism of the West and the poverty of other parts of the world (although some would say that this is an overly simplistic view of the issue!).
The issue of slavery and its eradication does seem huge and I am definitely not a William Wilberforce! However, there must be something I can do to alleviate this suffering. Below are some thoughts on how I (or we) could go about doing our small bit to help make the world a place where no man, woman or child is considered a possession (slave) of another person.
You could, support organisations that are working to the elevation of poverty and / or slavery, below are just a few organisations working towards this end:
- TEARFund – https://www.tearfund.org.nz/Project-Act.aspx
- Freedom Fund – http://freedomfund.org/
- Free the Slaves – http://www.freetheslaves.net/
- World Vision – http://www.worldvision.org.nz
- Destiny Rescue – http://www.destinyrescue.org/nz/
We could, reduce consumerism in your life, asking the question do you really need it before you buy. For example, do you really need…
- the most up-to-date iPhone?
- that new car when your current one works perfectly well and is only one year old?
- that made in China / India T-Shirt? – that was probably made in a sweat shop?
I could, support organisations that sell fair trade or ethically sourced products
- Fairtrade NZ http://fairtrade.org.nz/
We could all, talk to others about modern slavery and what they can do to alleviate it –the website for Free the Slaves looks to have some good teaching resources on it.
If we all do something, no matter how small we can change the world!
You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know – William Wilberforce