According to this article from the Christian SIM Now magazine that I was reading last night, at least 27 million men, women and children are serving as slaves.
The article begins with a story about a young boy from a poor family in West Africa whose father sent him to a local religious leader (a common practice) who takes in boys to live and work at his school until they reach their mid-teens. However what really happens is that the boys are sent out to beg for their own food and also for money which they have to surrender to the religious leader. The boys usually wander around the city without shoes, they are dirty and beg in busy traffic. They’re also regularly beaten and can only eat what they had begged for.
When the father heard the truth of what his son has to go through, he went out to rescue him. There are thousands of boys still caught within this accepted practice.
From Africa to Pakistan to Nepal to India to China to Eastern Europe to the US, Europe and Japan, people are involved either as slave providers or as slave consumers. Such a sad and ugly truth!
Slavery here and now has several resources for our action: reading lists, prayer lists, how to involve your kids, how to show support for abolitionist agencies and also products to avoid buying from companies with documented human rights abuses.