Home > Culture > Not For Sale: The return of the global slave trade and how we can fight it

Not For Sale: The return of the global slave trade and how we can fight it

HarperOne, 2007
RRP: $24.95

Reviewed by Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary of the Queensland Synod.

I became interested in the issue of people trafficking through documentaries I had viewed on TV and then my daughter started studying the topic at university and fed my desire for more information. Not For Sale met that need but also challenged me to further pursue the area using the extensive website resources listed at the back of the book.

According to Not For Sale, 27 million individuals in our world today are living as slaves. Human trafficking generates US $31 billion annually. The commerce in humans today rivals drug trafficking and the illegal arms trade for the top criminal activity on the planet. Half of the slaves are children under the age of 18 and 80% of slaves are females. In fact, more slaves are in bondage today than were traded in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade.

It is estimated that at least 15 million are bonded slaves in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Did you know that most of the chocolate we eat is produced by child slaves who never get to taste chocolate themselves?

This book could produce a feeling of impotence as the writer researches sexual slavery in Cambodia, Thailand, Europe and the USA (it also occurs in Australia) as well as bonded labourers in South Asia, child soldiers in Uganda and homeless children in Peru.

What is so positive about this book, however, is that it also looks at the stories of modern day abolitionists, many of them motivated by their faith. Their stories inspire and move, often in the face of large scare corruption. Moreover the book encourages the reader to become involved in action and shows how this can be done. As one abolitionist says “We badly need a movement of the Spirit in the global church” (p 65).

The author of Ecclesiastes expresses the desperation of the powerless today “I saw all the oppression that is practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed – with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power.” (Eccles. 4:1)

I pray that Christians will act.