Let me take a moment to ask a question. When you read the title of this article, did you wonder what I was talking about? If you did, you are not alone, I am sure. When we think of slavery, our brains automatically go to history – Jim Crow, Civil Rights, or the Civil War.
What is gravely sad about this, is that there is a modern-day slavery that is rarely talked about. This year, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery falls on 2 December. It is a time for us to discuss with our children what modern-day slavery is and how we can combat it.
The ILO (International Labour Organization) has stated that there are more than 40 MILLION people worldwide who have become victim to modern-day slavery. The term is used as an umbrella definition to define practices like forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Basically, it is exploiting anyone who is afraid to leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.
This is a tough subject to discuss with our kiddos, however, the times that we live in make it so it is necessary to bring awareness to them in our homes. Discussing specifically the topic of modern-day slavery has helped me speak more freely with my kids about human trafficking.
How do we teach this without making our kids fearful, yet cautious and aware? Speaking about these topics as a unit has helped me not frighten my younger son, but still, bring a level of urgency to my daughter who is older.
Here are some facts from the United Nations about modern-day slavery that made me want to teach my kids about it every year:
- 24.9 million people are in forced labor
- 15.4 million are in forced marriage
- There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world
- 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children
- 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture
- 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation
- Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.
I really didn’t want to scare my kids, so I had to find ways to touch on these subjects with them making a big enough impact that they are aware of how these tragedies affect people around the world today.
Teaching about modern-day slavery can get tough, but not talking about it can do a real disservice to our children. We want them to know what is going on in the world and to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
This issue can be taught to children of all ages and lessons can be adjusted to adapt to the age and level of your child. The key is just to start talking about the realities of this issue in the world.
There is a site dedicated to educators with tools to teach children about human trafficking: The Educator’s Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Toolkit. This site has videos, lesson plans, and teaching tips.
All three border states rank the most dangerous for human trafficking.
These are some tips about talking to our kids about modern-day slavery:
- Know that talking to kids about this issue does not need to be as intense as we think it needs to be in our heads… in order to get the point across.
- Know you don’t have to have all the answers. Explore questions together and get more understanding as a family.
- You can start with discussions about historical slavery and lead into modern-day slavery. Your discussions can be gradual and as general as your kids would need them to be.
youthSpark has created videos to help start the conversation. They are specifically geared towards educating children as young as 10 or 11 years old. You can learn more here.
- Check out what goods you consume from companies that have slaves working for them by finding out your slavery footprint.
- Buying less is a great way to budget, AND do your part in ensuring your products weren’t made by forced laborers.
- Check out this site to find out all about Slave-FREE shopping with organizations whose products are pulling people out of poverty, sustainable and handmade, or bringing dignity back to the people who make them.
- Look for the fair trade label on any coffee and chocolate you want to purchase.
- Are there any local groups around where you live. A Google search may help you find out. Take your kids to volunteer there.
I might have heard this in 60 Minutes or something, but I heard human trafficking is the fastest growing crime today. That is extremely scary to me. How can so many children or women go missing?
The very last but most important thing you could do with your homeschool to fight modern-day slavery is through prayer and supplication. In your prayers glorify God for the people who have been brought out of this situation and for the opportunity to help somehow.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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