By / Oct 27

Nick Nye talks with Dan Darling about his church’s ministry to sex trafficking victims. Nye is the founder and lead pastor of Veritas Community Church in Columbus, Ohio.

By / Aug 11

David Platt’s address at the 2015 National Conference was titled “End It: The Power of the Gospel to Address the Crisis of Human Trafficking.”

By / Jul 29

On Monday, July 27, the U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which analyzes the extent to which 188 countries (including the U.S.) combat human trafficking and slavery. Each country is scored — Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List, or Tier 3 — based on what the country is doing to fight human trafficking.

There are 31 countries on the Tier 1 list: those countries that do the best job of fighting and preventing human trafficking within their borders.

This year, 18 countries were upgraded, and 18 countries were downgraded. There are now 23 countries on the Tier 3 list, which means that the country does not comply with the minimum standards for protection against human trafficking and that the country is not making significant efforts to do so.

The entire report can be found at the State Department’s website, but here are five things you need to know about this report:

1. The Trafficking in Persons Report has real consequences for countries on the Tier 3 list.

In addition to the stigma associated with being designated a Tier 3 country, there can be significant financial consequences for countries placed on the Tier 3 list. First, the President has the authority to withhold non-humanitarian aid. Second, some countries on the Tier 3 list are not eligible to participate in educational and cultural exchange programs. Third, an amendment made to the Trade Promotion Authority Act states that the President cannot enter into a fast-track trade with a country on the Tier 3 list.

2. Thailand remains on the Tier 3 list for a second year.

The New York Times released a major article detailing slavery in the Thai fishing industry. The article follows the stories of several men trafficked into the industry, including Lang Long:

Many of them, like Mr. Long, are lured across the border by traffickers only to become so-called sea slaves in floating labor camps. Often they are beaten for the smallest transgressions, like stitching a torn net too slowly or mistakenly placing a mackerel into a bucket for herring, according to a United Nations survey of about 50 Cambodian men and boys sold to Thai fishing boats. Of those interviewed in the 2009 survey, 29 said they had witnessed their captain or other officers kill a worker.

3. Malaysia was upgraded from the Tier 3 list to the Tier 2 Watch List.

Malaysia was upgraded from the Tier 3 list to the Tier 2 Watch list, although many human rights groups have criticized this decision. Sen. Robert Mendendez (D-N.J.) criticized Malaysia’s upgrade, arguing that the upgrade was not based on actual changes on the ground but rather was done to pave the way for a fast-track trade deal with the Southeast Asian country.

In a statement, Sen. Menendez said, “The administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking, turned a blind eye to the facts, and ignored the calls from Congress, leading human rights advocates, and Malaysian government officials to preserve the integrity of this important report.”

4. Ghana was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List, but is the first recipient of a Child Protection Compact Partnership.

This year, Ghana was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List. The report’s narrative highlights labor trafficking, particularly of children, in fishing, domestic service, street hawking, begging, portering, artisanal gold mining, quarrying, herding and agriculture industries.

However, Ghana is the recipient of the very first Child Protection Compact Partnership, which will provide $5 million in funding to combat human trafficking of children. This first grant is an important step forward for the Trafficking in Persons Office in assisting countries that are seeking to fight human trafficking within their borders.

International Justice Mission, a Christian non-governmental organization that fights human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor, opened an office in Ghana in 2014 and this year rescued 10 boys who were held in slavery in the fishing industry on Lake Volta.

5. Saudi Arabia was upgraded from the Tier 3 list to the Tier 2 Watch List.

Saudi Arabia was pulled up from the Tier 3 list this year. The report states that although the Kingdom does not meet the minimum standards for elimination of human trafficking, “it is making significant efforts to do so.” According to the State Department, the Saudi government has made progress in prosecution of offenders and protection of victims.

However, the situation for foreign workers in Saudi Arabia remains problematic. According to the report, “non-payment of wages is the most common complaint from foreign workers in the Kingdom, while employers’ withholding of workers’ passports remains widespread.” Troublingly, the Kingdom did not seek punishment for any employers for passport withholding.


This year’s report contains a lot of good news for the poor around the world today. But according to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index, there are a staggering 35.8 million people held in slavery today. Look for opportunities to partner with one of the many great organizations combating this evil in the world today as we at the ERLC will highlight some of those organizations and opportunities. And please join us in praying for those that are held in slavery: His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

By / Apr 2

From the 2015 ERLC Leadership Summit on "The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation"

By / Mar 3

WASHINGTON (BP)—A new effort to help end human trafficking and slavery worldwide has quickly gained momentum in Congress.

The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act received approval from a Senate committee Feb. 26, only two days after it was introduced by Sen. Bob Corker, R.-Tenn. The Foreign Relations Committee, which Corker chairs, forwarded the bill with a unanimous vote.

The legislation, S. 553, would establish a centralized effort to thwart trafficking and slavery at a time when an estimated 27 million people are enslaved globally. It would create a Washington, D.C., non-profit foundation designed to use federal, foreign and private sector funds to reduce slavery by a measurable 50 percent.

Corker believes the bill “is going to have a transformative effect on us dealing with modern slavery,” he said in a CNN interview after the committee vote. “We have outstanding organizations that are using best practices, and yet we haven't had a central effort to deal with this appropriately.

“People are taking advantage of young people, old people, mothers, daughters, sons and fathers,” Corker said. “And we can do something about it, and we're getting ready to, and I'm glad that today we're celebrating the beginning of that effort.”

Southern Baptists applauded the proposal.

“Human slavery and trafficking are wicked to the core, assaulting the dignity of human beings created in the image of God,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

“By taking on this issue, Sen Corker and those who stand with him are in the spirit of the great Christian leader and anti-slavery activist William Wilberforce,” Moore said in a written statement for Baptist Press. “I pray that we will work together to end this scourge of slavery and trafficking in our world.”

William Wilberforce led the ultimately successful legislative campaigns against the slave trade and slavery as a member of the British Parliament from 1780 to 1825.

Raleigh Sadler, a pastor and trafficking awareness advocate in New York City, described the measure’s strength as “its emphasis on collaboration.”

“Through the funding of governmental agencies and non-profit organizations working in the areas of the world most affected, this foundation will seek to resource those who are already at work,” Sadler told BP in written comments.

International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest anti-slavery organization, commended the legislation and called for swift passage.

The bill and the accompanying funds “set a new bar for U.S. leadership to combat slavery,” said Holly Burkhalter, IJM’s vice president of government relations, in a written release.

“[W]e have not been engaging in a fair fight,” since the U.S. government has been spending “a minute fraction” of its foreign aid on anti-trafficking efforts while the traffickers have been making $150 billion in profits a year, Burkhalter said. “That is about to change.”

The legislation would require the End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation to fund programs that contribute to the rescuing and recovery of slavery victims, the prevention of slavery. and the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators. It also would establish measurable goals and cut slavery by half in seven years among “targeted populations.” Programs that fail to meet their goals will be suspended or ended.

The foundation’s goal is to raise $1.5 billion, which is intended to be broken down this way: $251 million from the federal government in eight years; $500 million from other governments; and $750 million in private funds.

The U.S. State Department categorizes slavery – which exists in the United States and more than 160 other countries – as sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor or child soldiers.

The new proposal is important to the local church, Sadler told BP.

“First, this bill aims to bring justice to the oppressed by holding the powers that be accountable for reducing human trafficking around the world,” he said, adding it “puts feet” to the State Department’s annual report “by resourcing those at work in countries that are meeting the minimal standards” of the report.

“Secondly, we can celebrate that this is a concrete step towards caring for the ‘widow, the orphan and the sojourner,’ who are vulnerable to human trafficking, Sadler said. “For these reasons, I challenge the church to pray for the implementation of this legislation.”

Sadler, one of the teaching pastors of Gallery Church in New York City, is director of justice ministries for the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. He trains churches and other faith communities on combating trafficking. He also leads Let My People Go, an initiative to help leaders recognize and address the issue of exploitation in their communities.

In endorsing the new proposal, IJM’s Burkhalter urged Congress not to cut back on anti-slavery and development programs already being conducted by the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“We don’t want to see the [federal government] robbing Peter to pay Paul,” she said.

The ERLC has been a leading advocate for policies to combat human trafficking since the move to address the domestic and international problem resulted in the first anti-trafficking law in 2000.

By / Dec 2

Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, a commemoration of the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949). 

Here are five facts you should know about modern slavery.

1. Modern-day slavery, also referred to as “trafficking in persons,” or “human trafficking,” describes the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe.

2. For most of human history slaves were expensive, the average cost being around the equivalent of $40,000. Today, the average slave costs around $90. A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year. Trafficking in persons is estimated to be one of the top-grossing criminal industries in the world (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking), with traffickers profiting an estimated $32 billion every year.

3. Human trafficking disproportionately affects communities of color. Including here in the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that over 77 percent of trafficking victims in the United States are people of color. According to a report by the FBI, confirmed sex trafficking victims were more likely to be white (26 percent) or black (40 percent), compared to labor trafficking victims, who were more likely to be Hispanic (63 percent) or Asian (17 percent). Four-fifths of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens (83 percent), while most confirmed labor trafficking victims were identified as undocumented aliens (67 percent) or qualified aliens (28 percent).

4. Traffic of children in Asia assumes a more significant proportion of overall trafficking than in other regions of the world. Younger children are found in the sex industry as customers seek to avoid AIDS, and much Asian sex tourism features children and minors of both sexes. In India, children are maimed to be more effective beggars. In China, babies are trafficked for adoptions abroad, with boys commanding more than girls. In Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the Philippines, children are trafficked as child soldiers.

5. Most trafficking in teens is for sex slavery. The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. According to Shared Hope International, children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night, though some service providers report girls having been sold to as many as 45 buyers in a night at peak demand times, such as during a sports event or convention. Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim who is rented for sex acts with five different men per night, for five nights per week, for an average of five years, would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution.

Other Articles in the 5 Facts Series:

HIV and AIDS  •  Thanksgiving • Cooperative Program  •  Military Suicides • Gambling in America • Truett Cathy • Hunger in America • Suicide in America • Christian Persecution • Civil Rights Act of 1964 • Supreme Court’s contraceptive mandate decision • Fathers and Fathers Day • Euthanasia in Europe • Marriage in America • March for Life • Abortion in America • ‘War on Poverty’

By / Mar 10

Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for freedom and equal rights for black Americans and other minorities oppressed by the white majority. King and his followers achieved many victories through such laws as the Civil Rights Act criminalizing racial discrimination. But decades after King’s assassination, black Americans experience an increasing amount of rhetorical racism from blacks and whites alike.

Rhetorical racism perpetrated by blacks against blacks can be traced to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s scandalous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe exposed the horrors of slavery in part by placing at the center of her narrative a house slave named Uncle Tom, presented as a virtuous, hard-working and apparently Christian slave. Against the advice of fellow slaves, Uncle Tom refused to flee his master, instead faithfully serving as long as he was his master’s property.

Consequently, the phrase Uncle Tom entered popular American culture as a derogatory epithet directed toward blacks by other blacks who judged the former group untrue to their African American selves. The phrase accuses targeted blacks of caring more about pleasing whites than about preserving African American identity and particularity.

A good education, proper English, a good work ethic, evangelical Christianity and membership in a multiethnic or mostly white church are among characteristics that might attract the Uncle Tom moniker. White associates, interracial relationships, a traditional family, theological or political conservatism, certain musical and dietary preferences, cross-race adoptions, an honest living and enrollment in certain schools are also among characteristics that sometimes attract the term. Discussions about Uncle Tom-ness in the media support some of the preceding assertions.

A couple of years ago, at least two black former professional athletes publically referred to two black athletes as Uncle Toms, referencing privileged upbringings, attendance at a certain school, a good home-life and an international upbringing.

Ironically, many blacks who call others an Uncle Tom often use the n-word as a term of endearment, in spite of its traditional use by white racists and slave owners to shame and dishonor Africans enslaved in America. Furthermore, racists continue to use the term to dehumanize blacks.

Some blacks use the n-word in attempts to be hip, cool, socially acceptable or funny, but these same blacks often have a double standard. Some of them would be offended if a white person called them the n-word, while finding the term either less offensive or inoffensive when uttered by blacks. In fact a few years ago some very accomplished blacks in the film industry publically criticized a white woman who works in media when she publically stated that no one, white or black, should use the term because it is offensive.

As a black with a multiracial background, born in an extremely racist part of Eastern Kentucky and reared there for 18 years, I have been called a number of racist epithets by both blacks and whites throughout my 35 years of life. White racists have called me everything from a black n-word, a colored kid, to a colored boy for reasons that they deemed appropriate. Likewise, black racists have called me everything from a black n-word, Uncle Tom, whitey, sell out, half-breed, or high yellow.

In my view, the n-word is the most offensive racist slur directed toward blacks, regardless of the ethnicity and race of the person speaking. The reason is quite simple. White racists used this term from its inception to dehumanize, dishonor and ostracize Africans enslaved within what such racists thought was a superior white society. Many black descendants of slaves continue to refer endearingly to each other with this derogatory word in music, movies or casual conversation, thereby reinforcing a racist, non-redemptive rhetoric and worldview of slavery and white superiority.

I am absolutely puzzled that many blacks embrace the n-word as endearing when used within the race, since racists have used and continue to use the term to degrade and dehumanize blacks. Equally, I am baffled that many blacks use the phrase Uncle Tom to shame and paint a negative caricature of certain blacks. I am most shocked that some blacks and whites who identify with the Christian faith have no problem with this sort of racist speech. By contrast, Stowe used the phrase Uncle Tom complimentary and the n-word negatively.

All ethno-racial communities should embrace the Christian identity of Stowe’s Uncle Tom. Concurrently, we should reject the racism Uncle Tom suffered, the racist worldview that enslaved some and promoted superiority in others, and racist speech used in the novel.

All slavery is evil. Those who worked relentlessly to abolish slavery and help slaves escape and attain their freedom did the right thing, indeed the Christian thing! Yet, Stowe suggests that Uncle Tom chose to be faithful to Christ even while living within the evil institution of slavery. Stowe presents a biblical principle that neither condones the evil institution of slavery nor excludes the Bible’s permission to practice civil disobedience.

Regardless of the ethno-racial group using the rhetoric, hate-speech is sinful and dishonors our God and Christ. Consequently, no Christian should use racist hate-speech, even when socially acceptable. Black Christians should speak with redemptive speech to and about all blacks and other ethno-racial groups. We should not tolerate or approve of black church members calling other black members Uncle Tom or the n-word. Regardless of the cultural popularity of racist hate-speech, black Christians should seek to be distinctively Christian, as citizens within the kingdom of God and as members of a new race in Christ, a race filled with different races (1 Pet. 2:9).

Christians from any ethno-racial community should repent of their sins, including the sins of racism and racist speech, and express God’s great work of redemption in our lives through Christ, who is wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).

Regardless of the ostracism we may endure, the gospel must permeate every single area of our lives if we are redeemed by Jesus’ blood. The gospel must permeate our speech to or about the different ethno-racial communities God created, because God sent Jesus to die for the sins of all, and to fashion us into a new race known as Christians (John 1:29; 3:16; Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Pet. 2:9).

God chose to save different ethno-racial groups before the foundation of the world and to unite us together in Christ by faith, so that we would be forgiven our transgressions and sins by the blood of Christ, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. God wants us to hear and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) and to be new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

Christians from various ethno-racial groups throughout the world are elect and foreknown — loved beforehand — by God, sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:1-2). God makes Christians from different ethno-racial communities into a new race in Christ, a royal priesthood, a chosen nation, and a people for God’s own possession (1 Pet. 2:9). By one’s exclusive faith in Jesus’ wrath-bearing death on the cross and by his victorious resurrection from the dead, God will redeem some from every tongue, tribe, people and nation to be Christians (Rom. 3:24; 4:25; Rev. 5:9).

God saves Christians to be holy, to be living sacrifices to him in every area of our lives, including how we speak to and about one another (Rom. 8:28-30; 12:1-2). Scripture teaches us to lay aside filthy speech, coarse jesting and every form of evil. Scripture commands us to be holy and not to let any evil word come out of our mouths (Eph. 4:17-5:20; 1 Pet. 1:3-2:10). God wants the redeemed to speak to and about each other in Spirit-filled love, with words that build up instead of destroy (Gal. 5:16-26; James 3:5-10), because Jesus redeemed our souls and our speech.

May a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled and edifying vision of gospel-centered, ethno-racial reconciliation redeem our speech and empower us to live distinctively as the people of God in this present evil age.