Modern slavery is a reality in the UK and in our world today. Men, women and children are sold and traded, stripped of dignity and privacy and hope, forced to work or made to commit crimes, trapped in domestic servitude, or pushed into the sex trade. It is an affront to Christians everywhere.

There are no exact figures, because this is a hidden crime, but it is estimated that there are 50 million people living in modern slavery worldwide. About 122,000 of them are in the UK. Numbers like this are too vast to really comprehend, which is why when I hear them, I don’t think in terms of statistics and percentages. Instead, I think of Pawel,* trafficked to the UK and forced to pick onions to supply major supermarkets, told he would be dumped in a shallow grave if he tried to escape, then forced to watch as a friend was viciously beaten.

I think of Solin,* a teenage girl in Vietnam whose family were tricked by a trafficker who forced her into exploitative labour in exchange for a kilo of sugar.

I think of Elita,* who was told she was going to be working at a hotel in the Midlands – but it was a brothel, where they used drugs to keep her compliant.

"We are committed to bringing an end to modern slavery, by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society."

Profiting from human misery 

Deceived victims are kept in these conditions through violence, fraud or coercion, and often end up living and working in abominable circumstances. There are almost certainly trafficking victims in your community. They work in factories and at car washes, as gardeners, waiters, leaflet deliverers… others are forced to work in construction or in nail bars. Young women are forced into prostitution, moved from house to house and town to town. Domestic slaves have even been discovered in outwardly respectable homes. 

It is an evil crime, profiting from human misery and taking people’s freedom in humiliating and often barbaric ways. That’s why Hope for Justice was founded 15 years ago. We are committed to bringing an end to modern slavery, by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society. Our vision and values are founded on principles rooted in the teachings of Jesus. We believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, and we work with everyone who can help us achieve our vision: a world free from slavery. 

The power of prayer 

We could not do any of this without dedicated supporters. Abolition groups around the country meet and pray and fundraise for us; businesses and individual donors feel called to support our vision; church partners help us financially, through prayer and in so many other ways. I have seen throughout my own years in church leadership positions how a motivated and passionate congregation can make a real difference. 

Many of those we help have faced such trauma and exploitation that I can’t even imagine or begin to communicate to you. Pray for them, that whatever is in their past, their future is greater. Pray for wholeness, for their thinking and their mindset, so they may be renewed into their new lives as free men and women. 

We believe that freedom is worth the fight. If you believe that too, we would ask you to join us. Churches and individuals can be part of bringing hope and freedom to people trapped in these desperate situations. Find out how at hope​for​jus​tice​.org/​c​hurch

*Real case studies of people helped by Hope for Justice; names changed to protect survivors’ identities 

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