Our New Age of Slavery


There is an article in the most recent issue of Foriegn Policy magazine (subscription req.) that is at once chilling, heartbreaking and maddening.

“A World Enslaved” by author/journalist Benjamin Skinner tells us, “There are now more slaves on the planet than at any time in human history.” Ponder that for a moment.

If the typical American is aware at all of the 21st Century slave trade, it is in reference to Sudan, where the Arab/Islamic fundamentalist government there has been taking slaves from the predominantly black/Christian South for a couple of decades now.

But as Skinner points out:

Few in the developed world have a grasp of the enormity of modern-day slavery. Fewer still are doing anything to combat it . . .even the quiet and diligent work of some within the U.S. State Department, which credibly claims to have secured more than 100 antitrafficking laws and more than 10,000 trafficking convictions worldwide, has resulted in no measurable decline in the number of slaves worldwide.

The article notes that a huge segment of slaves at this moment are women and children. And that their primary tasks involve sex and domestic labor.

Skinner describes how he flew to Haiti and secretly recorded a negotiation with a man on a street corner to purchase a 10-year-old girl. And you can hear his recording of a negotiation in a Romanian brothel for the acquisition of a handicapped, suicidal young girl in trade for a used car—here.

It’s breathtaking to contemplate that nearly 300 years after the nations of Western Civilization began progressively outlawing slavery and nearly 150 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—we are currently witnesses to unprecedented levels of human bondage and suffering around the world.

Of course, there is a very logical reason for this horror. Wherever the slave trade thrives, you’ll find one of three elements in place culturally. 1. Fundamentalist Islam; 2. Communist Totalitarianism/Marxism; or 3. Post-Communist Atheism.

Muslim Africa, China, North Korea, Russia and the client states of the former Soviet Union, and Marxist Haiti—these are the dark and hopeless spots on the planet where slavery is resurgent. Not coincidentally, they are some of the least Christian places on earth.

What few history textbooks dare to acknowledge anymore is that the anti-slavery impulse was essentially a Christian one. Three centuries ago, wherever Christianity permeated the culture, abolitionist feeling grew.

The fires of the anti-slavery movement were kindled and stoked from the pulpits of British and American churches.

Thus, it stands to reason that the spots where slavery is once again tolerated are those places where Christianity’s light shines least and dimmest.

The founder of the historic Christian faith launched His movement by declaring that he had come to “proclaim liberty to the captives.” Perhaps it’s time for those of us who claim His name to launch a new abolitionist movement.

And just maybe our smug new militant atheists like Bill Maher and Sam Harris might pause in their crusade to extinguish Christianity’s influence in our culture long enough to wonder what old evils might awaken in our own land once they’ve succeeded.

{E. Benjamin Skinner’s FP article was adapted from his new book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery}