Today we celebrate Labor Day in the USA, to mark the social and economic achievements of American workers. We celebrate with sleeping in, backyard barbecues, trips to the beach (if only, right?), and one last taste of summer.
This tradition has been passed down by Labor Unions, who strive to protect the workers’ interests. ((I totally recognize that in a politically conservative state like Texas, “union” is almost a dirty word, but I’m just going with the facts here.)) To understand more about why unions were so necessary here, please go watch The Newsies.
Then take a second to imagine what our nation would look like without some of the laws and practices these unions have created. Those laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor. They protect the most vulnerable of our society. Namely, children.
“There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old. All of these children are slaves.” -Mercy Project
We’ve all been reading more and more about child slavery recently, and the hurt and anger and helplessness I feel is overwhelming. Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Francis Chan reminded me (through Crazy Love– we’re not really face-to-face friends. Yet.) that this might make better sense through the context of how I might love my sister/daughter/cousin/best friend’s little brother/etc.
How do we wrap our minds around this? 14 hour days, 7 days a week. One meal a day. Sleeping on a dirt floor with other child slaves with no hope. This is the terrifying reality for kids trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa. ((Don’t worry, I had to google map Ghana too)) Poverty is the norm in Ghana, and unfortunately, the severity leaves many mothers in an impossible position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death.
Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves (as young as 5 and 6!), and their mothers never see them again.
Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing a holistic solution to the deeper issue. By teaching the villagers more efficient and sustainable fishing methods, the need for child slaves will ultimately be eliminated. Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta! Can I get an Amen?!
This video is an excellent 10-minute documentary where you can actually see the faces and hear of the progress on the ground. See the hope Mercy Project is bringing? Currently Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root, by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children. If you have studied much about holistic poverty and slavery alleviation, or read When Helping Hurts, you know how critical these steps are for the process.
We would like to invite you to join the story of hope through Mercy Project. When the first group of children is freed this month through Mercy Project, let’s celebrate together, yes?
Learn More and Get Involved::
Linking up today with the Hendrick Family + many others
Spend some time on the Mercy Project Web site
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Share the documentary with friends and family through social media and/or emails
“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” -Abraham Lincoln