Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor should not be slavery

A little while ago I dropped my daughters off at a friend's house. A small group of girls were going to spend some of their time off as we celebrate Labor Day by getting together to make some bracelets.  They will make them out of para-cord.  Beyond that, I don't know much about the bracelet making process. What I do know is that even though making bracelets could be considered work, in this case it is just a fun activity for some children.

Unfortunately, not all children are so blessed to be able to spend time just being kids. Instead, some children end up spending time being slaves. Slaves? Yes, you read that right, slaves. If you observed the U.N.'s recent "day" to recognize the end of the slave trade, you may be thinking, "huh?" Sadly, slavery is still alive and kicking in our world.
"The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Last week I happened across an effort underway to address child slavery and child trafficking issues in Africa - the Mercy Project. The Mercy Project is currently working in Ghana where extreme poverty weighs heavily on all who live there. Unfortunately, the poor conditions are putting mothers in a bad position - either watch their children starve to death or sell them to someone who will take care of them. These people who buy the children promise they will take care of them by providing food, housing, and an education. That is all a sham though as the children are really sold into slavery to work in the Ghana fishing industry. Bought for only $20, these child slaves are forced to work 14 hour days, 7 days a week, usually on nothing more than a single meal per day and a dirt floor to sleep on. The Mercy Project estimates there are 7,000 children in slavery in the Lake Volta fishing industry, some as young as 5 years old.

To help raise awareness of the issue of child slavery and child trafficking, the Mercy Project has produced this short documentary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Dwv5KbMYI

Mercy Project is working eliminate the slave trade in Ghana and the economic structure that allows it. They are hopeful that later this month they will be able to free their first group of children.

If you would like to help or would like more information, please visit the Mercy Project's web site at www.mercyproject.net. You can also find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @mercyproject.

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