Kevin Bales: A Modern Day Slavery Expert

They call him an expert. He’s considered to be the most knowledgeable person on modern day slavery. His name is Kevin Bales. Kevin is a professor, an author, a speaker and President of the anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves. I had the privilege of hearing Kevin speak briefly at an Award Ceremony last fall that Free the Slaves hosted. The awards were given to survivors of modern day slavery. It was an unforgettable celebration of life and freedom.

Modern day slavery, or human trafficking, is such a disturbing issue of our day. I’ve found it helpful to really learn from those who have dedicated their lives to making it end. England had William Wilberforce. Today we have people like Kevin Bales, Gary Haugen and the countless others whose names we will probably never know who are working on the front lines to combat this evil.  
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Slavery in America: Numbers Out; People In

I’m done with numbers. Numbers are too black and white and just don’t seem good enough when dealing with human trafficking. Numbers are just numbers.  They are only words spoken and lack any attachment or feeling and understanding. It’s just not that easy when it comes to buying and selling humans. And that is why. They are humans; not cattle. You can’t number them and move them along. We are complicated beings and require much more out of life and from each other than a number.

It’s important to hear survival stories of the rescued. Stories are bridge builders. They bring humanity together and open the door with an invitation to stay for dinner, serving a fine dish of common ground. Moms and dads are compassionate towards the world’s hungry children because they can’t imagine their own children being hungry. Women are moved by the Eastern Congo conflict where women are repeatedly raped and sexually mutilated by rebels and child soldiers because they know someone who has been sexually assaulted.

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Rescued Slave Victims Speak Out for the First Time

This series on slavery in America will continue next week with an interview from International Justice Mission in Washington, DC. In the meantime, here is a recent news story video of a few girls who are speaking out for the first time after being trafficked from Guatemala to Los Angeles 5 years ago. Having heard the stories of two girls rescued in Orange County, CA recently, I have witnessed the amount of courage it takes for them to speak up and tell their stories. This crime of slavery is happening all over our free nation.

We can help stop it from happening in our communities. Check back next week to hear what IJM suggests we do to abolish modern day slavery in America.

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Slavery in America: We the People...

America is a unique place. It is a nation governed by its own people.

As I write this column, the third of a series on slavery in America, I am at a hotel just a few miles from our nations Capitol. The hotel is themed appropriately with halls named after former Presidents and national leaders.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is not far from my hotel. IJM is a 300+ person organization that is made up of case workers, advocates, church modilizers and lawyers. Started in 1997 by former lawyer for the US Dept. of Justice, Gary Haugen, IJM has worked alongside governments and law enforcements around the world in efforts to abolish modern day slavery. Taken directly from their website, one of IJM’s core commitments sums up what they strive to do:

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