Slavery is Not Just a Historical Issue

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Countering Human Trafficking & Gender-Based Violence, Sierra Leone

Taking someone from their home and forcing them to do anything for profit. Trafficking in persons. Slavery. Evil. An abomination. This should never happen. Yet as recently as 2021, it is estimated that 50 million people are still enslaved worldwide.

Bunce Island  

The boat ride to Bunce Island in Sierra Leone, was a beautiful, calm, and relatively cool journey. As we left the boat and stepped onto the beach, a heaviness descended upon me. My thoughts moved to consider those who were forcibly brought here. Men, women, and children all taken from their homes and communities and brought to this island with the sole purpose of being placed into slavery. They would be herded into spaces so small, so inhumane; without access to water, food, toilets, or shelter from the blazing sun, wind, and rain.

Their turns would come and then they would be sorted by gender and taken to the fireplace one by one and branded. A hot iron straight out of a roaring fire would be forcibly pressed into their flesh, marking them as property. Their names no longer mattered, they were no longer considered human, only someone’s property to do with as they saw fit.  

After being branded, they were paraded in front of buyers then thrown into a holding cell. Packed in like sardines, they awaited ships that would take them on a long and treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. There, they would work in fields, carry out domestic duties, be beaten, and raped.

Trafficking Survivors

Bunce Island was used for evil purposes, and there was palpable darkness even after all these years. For those who didn’t survive to leave the island on a ship, slave traders would tie their bodies to a rock and throw them into the sea to be devoured by sharks or carried away by the tide. As we walked over the island, examining the piled stones that remained of buildings, looked down the well that served as the only water source (fed by the salt water), peered down into the dungeon, and walked among the trees, I wondered how such a beautiful place could become a place of such pain and evil.

Hope in Darkness 

Humanity is created in God’s image. All people – every colour, race, religion, and creed – has been created in the image of God and God has declared His creation “very good”. When we believe what God says, we value other human beings. Unfortunately, we live in a world where much profit is made from slavery. Whether in sex trafficking or labour trafficking, people are still being enslaved today.  

In Sierra Leone the Recovery Centre is combatting modern day slavery by helping young women like Annalisa* who find themselves in forced labour after the promise of a better education. Or young women like Julie* who seeking stable employment are promised steady work in the Middle East. After arriving at their promised destinations, they discover they have been sold, their travel documents have been taken from them and they are forced to work long unpaid hours, experiencing violence and abuse. 

Making a profit from the labour or pain of someone else is a modern-day evil that keeps us from experiencing life to the full. When one person suffers, we all suffer. World Hope International is committed to working toward eradicating slavery on all levels.

Recovery Center for Trafficking Survivors

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:5

Learn more about our Recovery Center or our Protection Work. For more information or to speak with someone about supporting the Recovery Center, contact us today.

Volunteer surrounded by people

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