Modern day abolitionists will ascend Capitol Hill today to lobby on behalf of those whose voices are so often unheard: those trapped in modern-day slavery around the world today. The lobby day is part of an annual Advocacy Summit held by International Justice Mission, a global human rights organization working to end modern-day slavery and other forms of violence against the poor.
Advocates will be supporting the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) earlier this year. The bill authorizes the creation of an historic public-private partnership that will fund programs aimed at ending modern-day slavery around the world.
“Faith leaders and abolitionists from across the country are sending a clear message to Congress: we do not want slavery to persist on our watch,” said Holly Burkhalter, Vice President of Government Relations at IJM. “Although the EMSI Act would generate unprecedented new resources to fight slavery, U.S. contributions to the initiative would still only amount to .07% of the US international assistance budget. Surely Congress can find common ground in the belief that ending the violent exploitation of men, women and children the world over is worth that much.”
Nearly 36 million people are currently enslaved, according to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, more than during 400 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The International Labor Organization estimates that the crime—including both labor and sexual exploitation—generates $150 billion in profits for perpetrators. U.S. and global funding to combat the crime has not kept pace with the need. The EMSI Act would seek to generate $1.5 billion in global donations from public and private sources over seven years.
The theme of the Summit is “On Behalf Of,” as advocates seek to give voice to those who are enslaved and do not have one while encouraging their representatives to do the same by supporting the EMSI Act. Advocates will also be delivering a letter signed by over 650 faith leaders and pastors from around the country calling on Congress to support and pass the transformative legislation. Such influential signatories include Louie Giglio, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Dr. Joel Hunter, Jim Wallis and more.