Juneteenth - Slavery Then and Now When ICS was founded back in 1823 one of our first vice presidents was William Wilberforce, who was instrumental in the fight to end slavery. Today is Juneteenth which is the day in which the emancipation of slaves in the southern states of the US is celebrated. Because of these things, we often view slavery as a thing of the past when in reality, there are more slaves now than ever before and it’s not just happening far away either it’s all occurring much closer to home than you may think. According to the organisation Hope For Justice, there are currently 40.3 million people in slavery worldwide. This can range from forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced marriage and can affect people of all ages from babies under one, to adults over 65 years old. William Wilberforce faced a lot of backlash and challenges from slave ship drivers for his plans to abolish slavery because it was a very profitable industry. Today over $150 billion is made each year through slavery and forced labour so really, not a lot has changed. When William Wilberforce became a Christian, he used his position of power as a member of parliament to stand up for causes that he was passionate about including the abolition of the British slave trade. As Christians we should be doing the same. In Proverbs 3:18 it says to ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.’ What can we do? Obviously, slavery is such a massive issue that it will be a long time until it can be eradicated but there are some things that we can do to combat it in a small way. Firstly, keep informed. Organisations like Hope For Justice and International Justice Mission are on the front line, rescuing people from the clutches of slavery and also provide many resources that can help to educate and inform about the issues that we aren’t always aware of. One of the biggest causes of slavery world-wide is forced labour so it’s important to shop consciously. When shopping, look out for the Fairtrade symbol which ensures that everyone involved in the production line was paid a fair wage. With clothing this can be a little harder to track down but I always like to use the Good On You directory which provides an ethical rating for thousands of brands so you can see just how the different brands you shop at are treating their workers.