Happy Birthday William Wilberforce

Today we celebrate the birth of one of our greatest examples and heroes in the pursuit to eradicate slavery, William Wilberforce, born this day in 1759. Wilberforce was a British politician, philanthropist and a champion in the efforts to put an end to the British slave trade, thus in hopes of stopping slavery altogether. His involvement in the abolition movement of his day was motivated by his earnest desire to put his Christianity into action and to serve God in all aspects of his life….public and private. By 1783, slavery was at an all time high carrying as many as 40,000 slaves…men, women, and children…..across the Atlantic Ocean under the worst possible conditions of what was known as the Middle Passage. So horrid were the conditions that of the estimated 11 million African slaves transported, as many as 1.4 million died along the way (Wikipedia). Sensing a calling by God, Wilberforce would journal in 1787, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the reformation of manners.”

Today, there is an estimated 27 million slaves in the world…more slaves than at any given time throughout history. Even with the abolishing of the slave trade in Britain and in America in the 1800’s, slavery never ended, it just changed faces. Where precious humans were traded in open market places in the past, today they are sold over the internet on such sites as Backpage.com. Human trafficking is the fastest growing form of organized crime, second only to the sale of drugs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). According to UNICEF, there are an estimated two million children in the commercial sex trade making up for half of those sex trafficked. An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders annually (U.S. Department of State). It is a 32 billion dollar business (U.N.) More than ever, we need more William Wilberforce(s) in the world. “If to be feeling alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the Trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for Abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.” As incurable fanatics to the sufferings of those forced into slavery, let US not rest until we have put an end to all human trafficking.  “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”