Today, February 27, is the day chosen by The End It Movement to shine the light on modern day slavery.
My kids are 8, 6, and 4.
The themes of forced labor and sexual exploitation are a little too heavy for their little hearts aren't they?
No. It will be a hard discussion, a painful one, but it must be had.
Raise awareness, raise compassion, raise action.
And honestly, the theme is not as foreign to them as you would think.
We have had the "stranger danger" talks. The awareness of risk is known.
However, beyond that, my children know the stories of the Israelites in Egypt, and the story of Joesph sold into slavery as a boy... slavery is not unknown to them. Today, I will just bring it a little closer to home.
I didn't plan to share this with my children today. I did plan to participate in the End It Movements awareness campaign of marking my hand with a "red X," but I assumed I would share very little about that with my children.
The Lord had other plans. I have been up for hours reading and scouring the internet about how to teach your children about modern day slavery.
First, The WHY.
Why would I share this with young tender hearts?
It is real.
27 million ya'all. 27 million modern day slaves across the globe. That is staggering. It cannot be ignored. It is happening in our own neighborhoods. We cannot deny the reality. Ignoring it won't make it go away. We need to be praying. Our kids need to be praying. We need to be doing something.
Awareness reduces risk
We are all familiar with telling our kids about risks like kidnapping or "bad touch," telling them the real words for body parts to increase detection in cases of abuse. Human trafficking and slavery is no different. I have heard testimonies of young girls rescued from slavery to only then realize they were a victim. I want my children, in age appropriate ways, to know the risks. To be aware. Being aware and cautious, having your eyes wide open, reduces risks.
Awareness produces Compassion
It is my hearts desire to raise children passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was consumed with those in need. Everywhere He went he healed the sick, made the lame to walk, and the blind to see. He had compassion. Awareness of modern day slavery will open our eyes to the reality, the need, and in turn stir in us a compassion for those in need of rescue.
Compassion produces Action
Knowing is not enough. William Wilberforce once said, "You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know." True compassion stirs action. We need to pray for these precious children of God. We must research what we can do. It may be a small part, but we must play a part.
- Research products and companies entrenched in slave labor
- Find local, national, and international organizations fighting modern day slavery and join them. Volunteer, give.
- Raise Awareness
- Like International Justice Mission and End It on Facebook to be kept aware of what is going on and how you can help.
How to tell our children about modern day slavery:
- Be age appropriate. If your child doesn't know what sex is, you won't go into the details of sex trafficking. Know your kids, their maturity, and what they can handle.
- Keep it simple. Don't overwhelm them. Share enough to understand, but not too much at once. Be discerning.
- Children, Home, and Family. These are themes children of all ages know and understand. Tell them about slavery from a perspective they will understand.
- Use real stories. Share with them one of the many survivor stories online. This makes it real, and also let's them know there is hope. Be selective, and share what you think is enough but not too much. For young children, this can be a face and a name along with "was a slave. She was forced away from her family. She wasn't allowed to go to school or play. But someone helped her get free."
How to Talk to Your Kids About Modern Day Slavery is a great article by Simple Homeschool that outlines how to tell kids of each age about modern day slavery.
5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Modern Day Slavery offers some practical tips on how to help parents involve their children in the fight against slavery.
Modern Day Slavery by Numbers is very informative on the facts and reality of the situation.
End It Movement
International Justice Mission
Today, as for me and my family, we will take a stand against injustice. We will mark our hands with a red X as a symbol of our families fight to raise awareness, compassion, and action for those without a voice.