Tuesday, February 5, 2008


One more intention for our lenten prayers:

There are more people in slavery today than in any time in recorded history!

Some official estimates say that 27 million people live in slavery worldwide today. Ten million are in India alone.

Slavery today, usually called “human trafficking,” refers to the buying and selling of human beings (including children) for the profit of other people. Victims of trafficking are usually recruited with promises, transported to another place, and then exploited. Oftentimes, victims are threatened with harm either to themselves or to their families if they try to run away. Typically they have no money, no official papers, and do not speak the local language. Most of the victims of trafficking are women or girls, many of whom are forced into slave labor, prostitution, or forced marriages.

Debt slavery (Also called bonded labor): occurs when someone takes a loan of money (often in a family emergency) in exchange for a guarantee to work for a period of time. The work is for long hours, every day, but the loan takes years to pay off or can never be paid off entirely. This is a common form of slavery in India.

Early/forced marriage: women and girls married without their consent and forced into lives of slavery.

Forced labor: Victims are offered paying jobs and then put into conditions of slavery instead.

Child labor: Children 8-17 are forced to work 12- to 18-hour days with little or no compensation.

Sex slavery: Unfortunately, this is the most common form of slavery today. The victims are sold into prostitution. The victims are often young girls aged 14-18. Today’s culture of impurity and sexual obsession has created an atmosphere where this type of abuse is growing.

Combatant slavery: The victims, often children, are forced into an army and made to kill.

(From Our Faith in Action, a program for parishes, schools and youth groups. Call 888 881 0729)

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