27 Million Human Beings

When you think of the word “slavery” what comes to mind?

Before answering that question, here’s some background about why I am asking it.

The first “task force” we launched at The Eastside Vineyard Church was NOT a weekend service planning committee, a building search committee, or a worship committee. Instead it focuses on human trafficking.

Tonight is our second gathering of this task force, so I wanted to make this blog all about human trafficking, something I didn’t even know existed until recently. Here is an excerpt from the curriculum that we’ll be discussing tonight. May God use it to break your heart for the things that break His…

When you think of the word “slavery” what comes to mind?

Slave ships? Shackles? Auction blocks? Plantations? Europeans forcing Africans from their homes and across the ocean? Heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, William Wilberforce and Harriet Tubman? For many, the word “slavery” evokes thoughts of an era long past.

Slavery, though is just as prevalent now as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. In those days, there were 13 million slaves transported from Africa in the transatlantic slave trade.

Today? There are an estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide. That’s over twice as many.


(Note: this comparison is not meant to diminish the atrocity of slavery in the past. It’s only meant to point to the fact that slavery is still rampant in the world today and that considering slavery as an institution of the past is a gross and egregious misjudgment.)

The institution of slavery functions differently today than it did 200 years ago. 

Then, slaves were bought and sold in public, at auctions. Today, slaves are still bought and sold, but in private. It is done in secret, out of view, in clandestine meetings, often arranged via the internet.

Then, slavery was legal. Today, slavery is considered illegal everywhere in the world, though nations frequently turn a blind eye towards it. Again, the trade is done in secret forums in order to avoid legal prosecution.

Then, slaves were thought of as highly valuable means of production. The average slave sold for somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 (in today’s currency). Owners viewed slaves as considerable economic investments, worth the money because of the work they would perform and the income they would help produce; highly valuable, long-term investments, similar to the way a modern farmer would view a tractor or a manufacturing machine.

Today, slaves are considered cheap and expendable. On average, a slave can be purchased for less than $200. When their usefulness is gone, they are either released or killed. Their vacant slot is simply replaced with another slave. They are viewed as disposable, like a used lighter or an empty soda can.

The terrible institution of slavery that existed in the past continues today. Today, though, it occurs in even more insidious and heinous forms. This is what we’re out to stop. This is what abolition seeks to end.

***Join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. This will be an extra-special service because Danny Cox – worship director at Kensington Church – will be leading worship. Sunday July 10. 6pm. More info at tevchurch.org . . . and for more info about human trafficking check out love146.org***


About Dan Kopp

In 2010 Dan and Kellie felt the call by God to plant a church somewhere in Macomb County, Michigan. Several months later The Eastside Vineyard Church launched and currently meets inside Shelby Jr. High in Shelby Township. This blog began in the pre-launch phase of the church and has exceeded 50,000 hits. Thanks for reading!
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