ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – February 25th is “Shine a Light on Slavery Day.” This is a day to bring awareness to the issue of modern-day slavery and is promoted by a coalition known as the END IT Movement.

You may see people with a red “X” on the back of their hands or posting images of a red “X” to social media. If you are like many people you believe that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation over 150 years ago. This belief simply could not be further from the truth. That proclamation was certainly an important step, but as a nation, and worldwide we have a lot of work to do before everyone can be free.

According to the #EndItMovement,

“There are more people trapped in slavery today than ever before in human history. Most of the world knows NOTHING about the most significant human rights issue of its time. END IT Movement is a collective of everyday people united by the hope that we could put an end to slavery and human trafficking in our lifetime.”

So, where are all of these slaves?

According to the International Labor Organization, there are 40.3 million people are being held against their will in slavery today. Of those 24.9 million are in forced labor (16 million in the private sector doing domestic work, construction, or agriculture, 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million in forced labor imposed by state authorities) and 15.4 million are in forced marriages.

Slavery results in $150 billion in profits each year which includes $8 billion saved by households not
paying or underpaying domestic workers held in forced labor

People are enslaved worldwide. 71% of those enslaved are women and girls and 25% are children. To phrase that another way, 1 out of every 4 slaves in the world is a child. Steps must be taken to protect the most vulnerable (International Labor Organization).

According to A21, an anti-human trafficking organization,

“through force, fraud, and coercion, people everywhere are being bought and sold against their will–right now in the 21st century. This is the reality: slavery is violence. It’s physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. But, slavery is more stoppable than ever before. And that’s why we’re here, rallying around the world and doing the work together.”


“Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern-day slavery, but nothing will ever happen until we are. ”

Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission

Some Local Resources:

The Potter’s Hands Foundation Corning, NY
Guided by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered by the Word of God, The Potter’s Hands
Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to providing a safe, secure environment in which women will receive
mental health counseling and be nurtured in physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, while being equipped with the skills necessary for self-reliance and reintegration to society through building a support network of healthy relationships with family, friends, church, and community.

Chemung County Safe Harbour
Safe Harbour: NY aims to enable New York’s child welfare and allied youth service systems to screen, identify, and respond effectively to the needs of children and youth trafficked for sex and or labor and improve system response.

Online Resources to Educate and Support:

A21: Prevents trafficking through awareness, education, and prosecution. Restores survivors by
providing protection and rehabilitation.

As Our Own: Rescues vulnerable children from exploitation and provides lifelong aftercare in a family environment.

Bombay Teen Challenge: Rescues and cares for sex slaves from the brothels of Mumbai with the goal of complete physical, mental, and emotional healing as victims are reintegrated back into society.

ECPAT USA: Prevents child slavery at the source by training the private sector, healthcare workers, and others on how to identify and stop trafficking.

#ENDITMOVEMENT: Born out of the belief that even one person trapped in slavery is too many, this is a coalition of the leading organizations in the world in the fight for freedom.

The Exodus Road: Rescues sex slaves throughout SE Asia, India, and the US using a network of covert surveillance teams and individuals.

Free the Slaves: Breaks the cycle of slavery by freeing slaves and helping them stay free in global trafficking hotspots while changing the systems that allow slavery to exist.

HAGAR: Restores wholeness to the lives of survivors by walking them through a journey of protection. recovery, empowerment, and integration.

Hope for Justice: Identifies and rescues victims, advocates on their behalf, while helping to restore and rebuild their lives.

International Justice Mission: Protects the poor from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.

LOVE146: Works to abolish child trafficking and exploitation through prevention and aftercare while contributing to a growing abolition movement.

FRDM: Prevents slavery by providing businesses and individual consumers solutions to identify and
remove slavery from their supply chains. Uses the free market to free people.

Not for Sale: Works on the ground and in mainstream supply chains to target the root causes of slavery, while equipping at-risk communities for freedom.

O.U.R.: Operation Underground Railroad has gathered the world’s experts in extraction operations and in anti-child trafficking efforts to bring an end to child slavery.

Polaris: Combats modern-day slavery and transforms the way the world responds to human trafficking.

The Salvation Army: Fights to prevent trafficking in the US and abroad through awareness, prevention, and networking within local communities.

STREETGRACE: Mobilizes communities to eradicate the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

World Relief: Works through collaboration and education in order to eradicate human trafficking and restore survivors.

World Vision: Works to prevent the trafficking of children, protects those most vulnerable, and brings healing to children who have been exploited.

Picture from: https://www.a21.org/content/human-trafficking/gqe0rc (Slavery by the numbers)