Let Freedom Ring!
Written By Mats Tunehag
In the 1700’s the slave trade was widely accepted and legal. It was, in fact, a backbone of the economy of the British Empire. It was a big, organized, and transnational business. William Wilberforce and the Clapham group decided to fight this evil trade. They chose to attack the systemic issue – the legality of the slave trade and slavery. To that end they organized a decades long campaign focusing on justice, aiming at a root cause. They worked politically to change unjust and ungodly laws that permitted that dehumanizing trade.
They could have chosen an easier route of awareness campaigns and a boycott of sugar from plantations in Jamaica, but they knew such initiatives in themselves would not free the slaves or bring about lasting change. The feel-good factor may have been higher, but the long-term outcomes would have been meager.
Today the slave trade and slavery are illegal, but not dead. Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is a lucrative and evil business. Just like Wilberforce and his colleagues, we need to ask what the systemic issue is today, and we need to go beyond charitable actions to fight for justice and freedom.
Our reflex as Christians is often to respond to global needs and issues through non-profit, charity models. These often do good, vital work, however, the danger is that we stop there. We may get the ‘feel-good factor’ without dealing with the systemic issues and root causes.
Wilberforce and the Clapham group were not popular; they worked against an institution – slavery – that was broadly accepted. Today, taking a position against human trafficking is far easier, the world will applaud you! But what kind of actions are needed to free slaves and restore human dignity today?
TACKLING THE ROOT CAUSES OF TRAFFICKING
We need to identify root causes to human trafficking. One culprit is unemployment. Places with high unemployment and under-employment become high-risk areas, like the village in Nepal where traffickers trick and trap vulnerable people looking for jobs. We cannot talk about adequate prevention of human trafficking unless we include the creation of jobs that have dignity and adequate pay.
We must also answer the question, ‘Out of trafficking and into what?’ Jobs with dignity give hope of sustainable freedom and restoration to survivors. Thus, being effective at both human trafficking prevention and restoration requires us to create good jobs.
Who can create jobs with dignity? Answer: Businesspeople!
We cannot talk about adequate prevention of human trafficking unless we include the creation of jobs that have dignity and adequate pay.”
Want to help FBA scale the creation of jobs for survivors of human trafficking around the world?
In 2012, the Business as Mission Global Think Tank assigned a working group to explore business solutions to human trafficking. The group identified businesses that aim at providing solutions to human trafficking, particularly by providing jobs for prevention and restoration. Often called freedom businesses, these companies exist to fight human trafficking, dealing with root causes and systemic issues.
To bring more freedom and dignity to more people there is a need for a growing number of scalable, profitable and reproducible freedom businesses. To that end the Freedom Business Alliance, FBA, was formed. FBA exists to scale the global freedom business movement.
Today FBA members include around 100 freedom businesses around the world. FBA is also collaborating with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations that are willing and able to assist freedom businesses and help grow the global movement.
FBA has a call to bring holistic freedom to those who are enslaved. We believe that strategic collaboration across the globe will create a greater impact to that end. FBA has a vision of 100,000 jobs that will bring freedom and dignity.
The challenge before us is huge and, just as in the days of Wilberforce, a clear strategy and tenacity are needed. Millions and millions are held as slaves today, and many others are at risk of being trafficked. Millions of jobs are needed for both prevention and restoration.
There is no quick fix to human trafficking. There is no ‘jump to freedom’; we have a long journey ahead. And as Nelson Mandela said: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” This is true for millions of slaves around the world, and also for the Freedom Business movement.
We invite you to join the movement! Let freedom ring…
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