This year, Super Bowl Sunday falls on February 1, National Freedom Day, which commemorates the joint House & Senate resolution that led to the abolition of slavery in America. Today, however, there are approximately 36 million men, women, and children around the world living in modern day slavery—including victims of sex trafficking—who do not enjoy the freedoms meant to be honored on this day.
“Basic protection by law enforcement is a right that should be enjoyed by all—and I am grateful to live in a country where the local government and law enforcement work to fight the crime of sex trafficking in a focused way, especially around events such as the Super Bowl,” said Gary Haugen, President and CEO of IJM. “While our system will always need improvements, the unfortunate truth is that most poor people in the world live without any protection of the law, in total lawlessness. This is the key difference between a place like the U.S. which has an estimated 60,000 people trapped in slavery and a region such as South Asia that has upwards of 16 million people enslaved]. We must remain vigilant in the fight against slavery in our own country, and also work to extend the same benefit of law enforcement to the billions who suffer from violence as part of their daily reality.”
Today, there are an estimated 2 million children in the commercial sex trade and millions more in forced labor around the world.
In fact, the number of people living in modern day slavery today would fill the University of Phoenix Stadium every single day for a year and a half.
These individuals aren’t free to watch their local sports team, or even go outside—they are trapped in a vicious cycle of violence simply because they are poor. Globally, statistics show that it is the poorest people who are most vulnerable to being victimized, with more than 4 billion people living outside the protection of the law.
“When I learned there were 36 million people living in modern day slavery—at this very moment—I was blown away by what seemed like an impossible number," said Russell Okung, offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks. "This year, the Super Bowl falls on National Freedom Day, which celebrates the abolition of slavery in America, and when I think about how valuable freedom is in this country, I can’t help but think that freedom must be possible for the millions around the world who are entrapped in slavery of all kinds. International Justice Mission is working tirelessly to rescue victims and mend broken justice systems—they are driven by the hope of freedom, and have given me hope that the fight against modern day slavery is ours to win.”
International Justice Mission works side-by-side with local law enforcement in the developing world to protect the poor from everyday violence, like rape, sex trafficking, forced labor, land grabs and police brutality, that robs them of their futures. By rescuing and restoring victims and partnering with law enforcement and governments to transform justice systems, IJM is making true strides in the fight against modern day slavery in the areas of the world where it is most rampant.
Want to join in the fight against everyday violence and modern day slavery? Become a Freedom Partner today.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.