8th March 2017
The Abolition Project website defines slavery as:
…a condition in which individuals are owned by others, who control where they live and at what they work. Slavery had previously existed throughout history, in many times and most places. The ancient Greeks, the Romans, Incas and Aztecs all had slaves. 1
This week at All Nations we are having an “Anti-Slavery week”. Various events have been set up including: viewing of a documentary about modern day slavery; Contemporary Issues in Mission (CIM) is on this issue and there will be a special prayer time and a response meeting on Friday. The students organizing this have said that they want express what is already in the DNA of the College. This is so true!
The father of the man who built Easneye House was called Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, apart from being concerned for the abolition of capital punishment, the prison system and animal welfare, he was the man who led the campaign to get the slaves released after Wilberforce had got the slave trade banned in the British Empire.
Today’s CIM was led by a former student, Hieke, who is now working in an Anti-Trafficking network, European Freedom Network and volunteers in London, in the Tamar project 2. The College actually has three teams of female students on placement with groups working in this area, especially among sexually abused women.
There was an excellent, if rather disturbing skit performed by four women students giving a very upsetting view of what many women go through who are caught up in this trade (done as part of the Performing Arts in Context module); two testimonies of our students working with Tamar; and Hieke gave us a very interesting talk on the issue.
This trade is an affront to the image of God. The perpetrators and victims are both made in God’s image and the sick relationship expressed in the trade distorts this image.
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
We wondered at the fact that, in our age of human rights, that human beings are still being viewed as property, chattels to be used, abused and discarded on a whim. This sinful trade is also an affront to God’s kingdom, his righteous rule which was begun in Jesus and will be completed when he returns. Christ died for both perpetrator and victim.
Hieke linked the cultural idea of maximum profit and minimum investment with the cultural idol of choice and, of course, this trade. We can try and save the victim and restrain the perpetrator but if the conditions that allow the trade to flourish are not removed then it will simply go on.
We are praying and asking ourselves, ‘what next.’ What does the LORD require of us in the pursuit of justice, the love of mercy and the act of walking humbly with Him?