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Slavery Makes a Comeback

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Not long ago, most people assumed that slavery was a thing of the past, and that the idea of one person holding another as property—to be used involuntarily, by coercion, for the master's benefit and profit—had disappeared as human civilization had become more civilized and enlightened.


Not long ago, most people assumed that slavery was a thing of the past, and that the idea of one person holding another as property—to be used involuntarily, by coercion, for the master's benefit and profit—had disappeared as human civilization had become more civilized and enlightened.

Shockingly, however, involuntary servitude not only exists today; it is increasing in many parts of the globe. Whether practiced to obtain repayment of debt, to reward victors in war, or for the economic benefit of cruel and greedy criminals, slavery has been making a comeback—even in places where it had been made illegal long ago.

The British Empire officially abolished slavery in 1834. Yet slavery has become such a serious problem that London police set up a dedicated anti-slavery unit earlier this year, to catch slave traffickers and rescue their victims. City officials were spurred to action after London's Sunday Telegraph newspaper exposed evidence that slavers were using immigrant children—some just six years old—as workers in London sweatshops and brothels. British authorities have discovered that this practice is not limited to the middle of big cities like London, but is also occurring in houses and apartments across the nation.

Too Good to Be True?

Slavers often lure their victims with promises of jobs and prosperity. Poverty-stricken people from less developed nations in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and South America enter a wealthy country, often illegally, eager to improve their lives and provide for family members back home. However, once these immigrants arrive, slavers take away their personal papers and keep them as virtual prisoners to work in sweatshops or as prostitutes. Unable to speak English, fearful of police and often held by threats of violence, they toil for their masters in terrible working conditions, laboring long hours for little food and no pay.

How widespread is the problem of slavery? Even the U.S. Department of Defense has had to develop anti-slavery guidelines, after finding that some of its overseas contractors enslave their workers who toil on behalf of America. "The department has instituted a human trafficking awareness program as part of its efforts," Defense Department undersecretary Gail H. McGinn told the House Military Personnel Subcommittee. McGinn said her department is focused on two areas, "the overseas sex exploitation industry near U.S. areas of operations and the employment practices of civilian contractors supporting Department of Defense operations overseas" (American Forces Press, June 22, 2006).

A United Nations Development Program study noted, "India has become a key destination and transit hub for human trafficking from East Europe and other places. Trafficking occurs from Egypt, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Russia and other Eastern European countries… Out of 593 districts in India, 378 are affected by human trafficking. Forty-three percent of the women involved are minors" (Times of India, June 22, 2006). In some cases, poor families will sell their children to raise money.

Millions still work as slaves in Pakistan, particularly in the brick, glass, carpet and fishing industries. "Pakistani girls are also reportedly trafficked to the Gulf for sexual exploitation and Pakistani boys are trafficked primarily to the UAE and Qatar to serve as camel jockeys" (Pakistan Dawn, June 6, 2006). Pakistani workers in Persian Gulf states, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Iraq often find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude and are also subjected to physical or sexual abuse.

Authorities in Vietnam are trying to stop the flow of Vietnamese slaves into China. According to one recent report: "More than 550 Vietnamese women and children were trafficked to China in the last two years" (Vietnam News, June 22, 2006). Organized crime gangs in both countries had promised naïve Vietnamese good jobs in big cities in Vietnam and abroad, but most victims were sold to brothels in China.

Narumi Yamada, representative of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Vietnam News that human trafficking had reached "epidemic proportions" in East Asia, and that no country is immune (ibid.). According to the UNODC, more than 700,000 people worldwide—a number larger than the entire population of the state of Alaska or the nation of Bahrain—are trafficked and exploited as sex workers and slave laborers each year.

No One Is Safe

Economic hardship, greed and lust all feed this enormous and growing crime. Could you or members of your family become slaves in a foreign land? The U.S. is now the greatest debtor nation the world has ever known, and many economists doubt that its debt can ever be fully repaid. As the dollar continues to lose value, creditors are becoming more and more nervous. The day will come when creditors demand that America's obligations must be satisfied—and the Bible warns that its debt will be paid with the bodies of its citizens:. The book of Revelation describes a time in the near future when merchants will traffic in the "bodies and souls" of human beings (Revelation 18:13). This frightening time was first mentioned in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, recounting what will happen to the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel—the American and other British-descended nations:

"But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you… Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long… You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity.… The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.… Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone.… And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, `You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you" (Deuteronomy 28:15, 32, 41, 43–44, 64, 68).

Because of their sins, the ancient Israelites were taken into captivity. But those people were never sent back to Egypt! Therefore, we can see that the Deuteronomy 28 prophecy foretells a yet-future event that will ravage the U.S. and the former British Commonwealth nations (For more detailed information on this vital topic, please write or call to request a free copy of The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy). Yet, when His people repent, God will rescue them from the slavery into which they have been sold: "I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God" (Amos 9:14–15).

God speed the coming of Tomorrow's World, the millennial rule of Jesus Christ under whom all people will treat one another with love and respect (Isaiah 60:1–3; Mark 12:30–33)!

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