Slavery

  • 40x50

'Modern' slavery means recruiting, accommodating, transporting, subsisting or obtaining a person for forced labour or commercial sexual acts using force, fraud or coercion. According to this definition, there were around 29.8 million slaves worldwide in 2013. That was 35.8 million in 2014 and 45.8 in 2016 .... 58% of them lived in the top 5 countries India, Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. An estimated ten million children work as slaves.
Child soldiers in Colombia and Africa are examples of modern slavery. Furthermore, children work as slaves in quarries, in the carpet industry in India, and on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast. In Haiti at least 400 thousand children work as slaves, called restaveks. Many children in developing countries are also forced to work in prostitution, particularly in Southeast Asia. Some 50,000 North Korean forced laborers are employed in China, Russia, Qatar and Europe, by doing so the regime raised between 1 and 2 billion dollars.

Leaders of the Jewish people asked Jesus about the possibility of divorce in the Torah (Deut 24: 1) while people are not allowed to divorce at all (Gen. 1:27 and 2:24). Jesus says to them: "... “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning."(Matthew 19: 8).
Just like polygamy and divorce, certain forms of slavery are tolerated in the Bible. God tolerated it, just as he tolerated all kinds of other wrongs for a certain period of time. In addition, slavery in biblical times was very different from slavery defined above. People were not forced into slavery because of their nationality or their skin colour, it was more like a social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or could not take care of their families. Abuses in this system are mentioned and regulated in the Bible. In New Testament times, doctors, lawyers and even politicians were sometimes slaves to another. God has had the same opinion from the very beginning of creation: He has made every human being free, to find one partner and to stay true to the rest of life. That has always been God's will. What appears from Jesus' quote above is that laws have been introduced 'because of the heartlessness and stubbornness' of man.
The Bible shows that in the end God will deliver us from all forms of slavery. Then all people will know real freedom (Isaiah 65:21, 22). Paul, too, emphasized the equality of all believers, and in 1 Timothy 1:10 he vehemently turned against traffickers. In Ephesians 6: 9 it is stated that masters should consider their slaves as brothers and sisters. That was a revolutionary thought at the time. An important text in this connection is also Galatians 3:28: "in Christ is neither Jew nor Greek, nor subservient nor free. Believers are all one in Christ Jesus."