We hope all of you fathers had a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday!
Also, Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth is a holiday on June 19th commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans (observed as a federal holiday on Monday, June 20 this year because of the weekend).
Tragically, slavery is still alive and well on a global scale today, with over 40 million people estimated to be victims of human trafficking.
Many elements are critical in the fight to combat human trafficking, including initiatives to rescue those entrapped in modern-day slavery, restoration efforts to bring lasting healing and rehabilitation, and the pursuit of legal means to disrupt the practice. One example of an organization of followers of Jesus engaged in these ways is the International Justice Mission.
However, another key element in the strategy to end human trafficking is the development of businesses intentionally designed to provide employment opportunities for survivors of trafficking and those at risk. Often called “Freedom Businesses,” these enterprises are vitally important to address the risk of re-trafficking. As the Freedom Business Alliance, an organization providing research, training, awareness, and development for Freedom Businesses describes it:
Efforts to rescue victims of human trafficking have steadily risen over the last decade. However, the vulnerabilities of survivors do not disappear once a victim has been rescued. The factors that made them vulnerable in the first place, such as a lack of education, job training, or employment opportunities, still exist. The trauma of being trafficked then adds yet another layer of vulnerability. This leads to a startling level of re-trafficking. 80% of those rescued from modern slavery, also known as Human Trafficking, will be re-trafficked absent safe employment opportunities.
As described in a 2013 working group report of the BAM (Business as Mission) Global Think Tank, leaders and supporters of Freedom Businesses share “a deep passion to see freedom brought to the captives through the creative use of business; along with a foundational belief that ultimate freedom and hope is found only in Christ.”
Let’s celebrate and support these missional enterprise leaders combating modern-day slavery, and consider whether God might be leading our businesses to be a part of their efforts.
For a quick (less than two minutes) introduction to the concept of Freedom Business, check out this video featuring Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61 as he read from the scroll in the synagogue in Nazareth. Let’s pray this week that we will sense where he is at work today to “proclaim liberty to the captives” and that we will join Him in his work as he leads us.