There are over 40 million people trapped in slavery today (International Labour Organisation), one in four are children. Estimates for slavery in the UK is up to 136,000 (Global Slavery Index).
Behind the figures lies devastation and terror on a mass scale. Children are being trafficked and sexually assaulted in front of webcams, raped with complete impunity or forced to work from only a few years old. Pregnant women trapped in sweatshops breath in dangerous fumes, and men are relentlessly beaten as they toil in fishing boats to produce seafood for our consumption.
Our God is interested in the 1 as well as the 99 and the 40 million. Foli* was only a young schoolboy when he was tricked and forced to fish for 19 hours a day on Lake Volta in Ghana. Foli witnessed other boys drowning in the deepest places of the lake. He cried out to God each day praying, ‘God when the waves crash on the boat, give me strength. When the net holds me in the water give me breath. God don’ t let the net go into the deep place, keep me alive today.’
Foli’ s prayer was answered when International Justice Mission partnered with police to find and rescue him. With the support of IJM’ s aftercare team, he’ s been reunited with his grandparents, his grandma said:’That day, people were celebrating all over the community because Foli was lost but now was found.’
Violence is an everyday threat to those who live in poverty. When laws aren’ t enforced, criminals continue to enslave, traffic, rape and abuse others without fear. Over 4 billion people globally live without the protection of the law (UN).
The levels of inhumanity and the sheer scale of the problem can overwhelm us. Paul, in Ephesians, reminds us that this is a spiritual battle and exhorts us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” But how do we pray in the face of such mass evil? We need to lean into scripture:
- Focus on God’ s character. He is the personification of love (1 John 4:16) and the God of justice (Psalm 50:6)
- Remember that He hears the cries of the oppressed (Exodus 3:9-10) and promises to answer our prayers (Matthew 7:7).
- Whilst God burdens our hearts with compassion to intercede and act, it’ s His weight and burden to carry (Matthew 11:30). We are called to partner with Him.
- Persevere in praying bold prayers (Luke 11:5-8)
Prayer is the very heartbeat of justice and underpins the work of International Justice Mission, fighting these horrendous forms of cruelty and abuse.
The good news is that we’ ve seen God move in powerful ways and that the deterrent of being caught and punished leads to dramatic decreases in criminal violence. IJM has worked with police to rescue more than 50,000 people including Foli from slavery and other forms of oppression, restoring their lives to wholeness. We are seeing justice systems dramatically transformed. In the Philippines, we have seen an average 80% reduction in the number of children being available for commercial sexual exploitation.
God is calling His Church once more to say to the modern-day pharaohs “Let my people go”. But if we are to knock down the doors of sweatshops, brothels, fishing ships and factories, we first need an army of people knocking on the doors of heaven to bathe our teams of investigators and lawyers, social workers and community activists around the world in our Father’ s grace and wisdom.
Please join this move of prayer to end slavery and injustice by praying for:
- Rescue, justice and restoration for victims of the devastating crime of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, the demand for which comes from the West including the UK.
- God to intervene and bring urgent rescue to vulnerable migrant workers currently in slavery within the Thai fishing industry, many of whom are producing food for Western supermarket shelves
- Breakthrough with government officials in a new city in South Asia where IJM is trying to combat sex trafficking of children. Please also pray for key rescue operations, police training, and aftercare partners in this city.
- Survivors of police brutality in Kenya, who are forming a survivor network to help see corrupt, violent police held to account for their crimes.
- The UK Government to continue leading the fight against slavery, human trafficking and all forms of sexual exploitation of children.
If you feel moved to rescue more Foli’ s, please visit our website to see how you can help https://www.ijmuk.org/