Globalization: The Cause and Potential Eradication of Slavery
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
A Final Research Paper: Written for MD500 Globalization, the Poor and Christianity
Fuller Theological Seminary
Globalization has worked to both advance and eliminate global slavery and while the world is still in the cross hairs of this crisis, globalization itself has the ability to finally fully eradicate slavery in the future. Today in Central America hundreds of girls are being sold for their bodies. While in India families including women and children are sold at auction for labor or debt bonded for an undisclosed sum that they will never pay off. Still, in Thailand, prostitution rings thrive for adult women as they continue to be drugged into submission.
The thought of humans exploiting each other for personal gain is unfathomable for some, yet a way of life for others. Some Pilipino families are so poor that they reside to selling their children online to preform sex acts for American pedophiles. These realities are real for the staff at the International Justice Mission (IJM), who have made it their business to rid the world of this grotesque injustice. With branches in 18 countries world-wide, IJM is the largest anti-trafficking organization world wide.
Manfred Steger claims the term globalization became a buzzword half a century after it began in the 1940’s and claims the term actually took hold in the roaring nineties but that the massive idea of our time has yet to be covered fully in resources outside of his own twenty books on the matter.  Globalization, Steger says, “has become the buzzword of our time – a term that describes a variety of changing economic, political, cultural, ideological processes that are transforming our experience of the world.” While this may be true, globalization and / or any other factors that have worked to decline or advance development of the world in the past two hundred years, slavery is on the rise.
Christians in particular have a direct and clear call from God to eradicate the oppression caused by slavery and injustice and while many efforts have been made, the millions are still held in bondage every single day. To uncover a means of unraveling the epidemic of slavery one must: understand both historical and modern day slavery, unpack the biblical call to justice and review the specific ways globalization can truly bring an end to slavery for all time.
Slavery: Historically and Modern Day
The idea of slavery has existed throughout history. Our own holy book represents slavery in its earliest stories. It is a wonder why man has sought to oppress its peers seemingly since the beginning of time. However, the fact remains that this sin is and has been prevalent. When one ventures back to the original Hebrew form of the word in the HALOT (611) lexicon, slavery is defined simply as work or service but a second definition offers forced labor, service and worship. The word slavery occurs 16 times in the Old Testament, while the word slave occurs 59 times. This together with the New Testament’s 27 references to slave and 5 occurrences of slave, proved that this form of oppression has been ramped throughout World and Christian history. Turning to the word slave HALOT (6002) defines the term as someone held in bondage, a servant, a subject.
With the term clearly defined as prevalent amongst Christian scripture, one must turn to the earliest occurrence of the term in Exodus. “During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.” (Exodus 2:23) Here, God’s own people are seen suffering at the hands of an Egyptian Pharaoh around 1500 BC.
Interestingly, the New Testament references the slave trader. Offering that even these are covered by the grace of God should they choose to repent from their ways which are contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel.
For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God. (1 Timothy 1:9-11)
One would hope that this sort of unconditional love by our Father would end the despicable practice of slavery. Yet, the practice grew at a steady rate during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Olaudah Equiano, the infamous former slave turned English abolitionist alongside British Parliamentarian William Wilbrforce, describes his kidnapping by English slave traders,
“But alas it was my fate to be thus attacked, and to be carried off, when none of the grown people were neigh. One day, when all our people were gone out of their works, as usual, and only I and my dear sister were left to mind the house, two men an a woman got over our walls and in a moment seized us both, and without giving us time to cry out, or make resistance, they stopped our mouths and ran off with us into the nearest woods …here they tied our hands, …and put me in a large sack.”
The brutal events that lead Equiano into slavery resound of human sin. The nature of man has lent itself to this unbecoming nature for centuries upon centuries. While Equiano and Wilberforce fought slavery together in England the late 1700’s, this atrocity was still taking place in the United States, which had broken from English rule at the thought of becoming “one nation under God.” Interestingly, slavery continued in this country for nearly 100 years. God’s people have wrestled with sin and oppression throughout history, and it seems every so often one brave soul comes along with enough gumption to take a stand against the mechanism that seeks to undervalue people made in the image of God. One such soul, was the 16th American President, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Standing nearly a head above the average man, Lincoln made his life’s work to see all people freed in his country, to the end of which he would eventually give his life. Though it caused more about four years war and the loss of countless lives, Lincoln presided over a civil war that most clearly revolved around the Godliness of slavery. In his second Inaugural Address Lincoln calls upon scripture to point his country in the right direction,
“One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union but localized to the south. … All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each involves His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.”
While true equality was not established until nearly 100 years later in the United States, the end of global slavery is yet to be determined. Today’s forms of slavery have taken on new terrors. The Global Slavery Index estimates over 45.8 million slaves in the world today. This is more than twice that of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, existing during Equiano’s time.
Modern day slavery is ramped through developing and non-developing countries alike. Many times young girls are sexually exploited for the economic benefit of their families or those who wish to entrap these innocent souls for personal gain. Bonded debt labor conceals itself as a form of paid work, all the while being a cover for slavery. In this case masters continually add debt to the sum initially borrowed by an impoverished family so as to keep the family in labor slavery for life. Again, poverty has driven many families to use new technology to exploit their children online.
With globalizations rapid recent innovations and the relatively recent rapid air travel, evil doers are able to gain access to resources, like transportation and people to use as assets, more readily than ever before in history. Ending the oppression of God’s people may prove an onerous task but an attainable one in this unique time in history.
Biblical Call to Justice
“… if we are not blind to the course of human events, as well as utterly deaf to the plain instructions of Revelation, we must believe that a continued course of wickedness, oppression and cruelty, obstinately maintained in spite of the fullest knowledge and the loudest warnings, must infallibly bring down upon us the heaviest judgments of the Almighty,” William Wilberforce in A Letter on the Abolition of the Salve Trade.
While many of the great women and men of history can been seen quoting scripture to provide background for their views, it seems a similar number use this same text to justify their actions, as Lincoln’s second inaugural address so eloquently pointed out. However, unpacking the realities of scripture might help to provide a basis for which to form one’s own opinion and their call from God to the fight for justice and the end of slavery and oppression.
The Psalmist in the 82 chapter addresses this sentiment clearly, “Give justice for the poor and the orphan uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and the helpless; deliver them from the grasp pf the evil people.” (Psalm 82:2-4) It would seem that this call to justice might provide clarity for those who doubt, yet there are still many references to God’s chosen people holding slaves themselves. Going further back to the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah says, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17) So it is a reasonable claim that there might be contracting messages in scripture which might lend itself to an opposition movement. However, turning to scriptures solidifying the freedom, grace and heart of Christ in the New Testament, one finds,
“Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. (Matthew 25:34-29)
Clearly, the sentiment of the risen savior is to serve others rather than to be served. Further, Christ went on to say,
“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
The Son of Man came to be a servant to his fellow man not to rule, as such He called those around Him to do the same. The gospel of love and justice prevails heavily in the New Testament, this combined with the calls in both Isaiah and Psalms provide clear direction for Christians. This revelation might lead some to ask “to what extent they should become involved in alleviating oppression.” Turning to Acts 2 can provide expense clarification on the matter. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching…. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (Acts 2:42-45)
Amongst believers, the communal environment suggested in Acts 2 can seem extreme. While this may be true, the calling toward justice and working toward justice together is clear. For Christians three main entities of involvement exist for engagement, these are Church Community, Christian Non-Profit, Mission Field. Church communities all across the globe are becoming involved in the fight for justice by partnering with Christian non-profit organizations who are experts in their fields and even in some cases, creating organizations of their own to address the growing slavery and “trafficking” concerns.
Although, in his text, William Easterly, addresses the phenomenon of the White Man’s Burden and their propensity to “invade the poor.” Easterly describes the destructive nature of those who are in power to do too much for those in need, hence eventually not helping their situation rather creating a dependence on the dominate aid system, furthering the dilemma that first existed. When describing the situation of Silvia Neyala Singa of Huambo Angola, he says, “The only food the family had for long periods was the cornmeal donated by the Red Cross. … The best rule of all for Western helpers is, first to do no harm.” Keeping this in mind, Christians have the ability to choose wisely the organizations with which they wish to become a part.
Groups that provide a sustainable approach to either repairing the freedom and knowledge lost through slavery of each and every person rescued to eventually lead to a fully integrated self-sustained person thriving in their own land or that of a safe country, should be the aim of every effort. For example, the International Justice Mission mentioned earlier, boast four integrated steps that, when working properly, should lead to a healthy governing body, functioning law enforcement system and thrive-ability of local citizens. IJM’s founder, Gary Haugen claims “the end of poverty (leading to slavery and trafficking) requires the end of violence,” in his book The Locust Effect. IJM sets out to do only four things well. These are: Rescue the oppressed, Restrain perpetrators, Rebuild justice systems, and Restore survivors. The last two tasks speak specifically to removing dependence on those who initially provided aid and putting the ownership back in the hands of either the oppressed or the locals, exactly what Easterly mentioned in his text.
Beyond church-lead organizations and Christian non-profit organizations, lies the opportunity of mission trips. This option of relieving slavery seems highly sought after, yet are difficult to complete due to the criminal nature of the act of slavery in modern times. For example, IJM cannot risk a rescue operation by bringing along a highly motivated matching pink t-shirt wearing group of white Americans to a brothel in Cambodia. A tip off would be the least of their concerns, rather the safety of the missionary group and the ability for those detectives to go undercover to rescue modern day slaves in the future. Still, there are limited opportunities for specialists to visit and aid in the areas of medical assistance and in some cases legal help. Above all, when seeking to help those in need, Christians must first put forth what is best for the victim and leave personal desire out of the equation.
Globalization: Eradicating Slavery
Sometimes it is that which is well loved that eventually leads to destruction. Quite to the contrary, globalization, while it was largely responsible for the rise in modern day slavery, just might be the final cure for slavery. Yes, the advancement in rapid transits and the gap between the wealthy and the poor advancing every day, are products of the phenomenon known as globalization. However, the oppression seen throughout history might finally come to an end in our lifetime with the many advancements that have come along with globalization itself.
For starters, technology is on the rise. One would be hard pressed to visit even a developing country and not find most citizens shoulders hunched and eyes down looking at their mobile device. From fishing villages in far west Nepal to the hustle of the world’s capitol in Washington, DC, the advancement of technology is clear. While in the past, getting word out about a missing or kidnapped person was done by word of mouth and had a reach of only those places that could be reached on horseback in a few hours, today’s victim can be assured that their disappearance will be blasted across cell phone as a national emergency alert, displayed in highly visible road signs and transported through the globe in a mere half a second flat. That is assuming that someone has recognized their disappearance and that their country’s government systems and law enforcement aim to work toward the advantage of its citizens and not to the benefit of their own pockets. This ideal gives rise to the need for organizations like that of the International Justice Mission who not only seek to rescue but rebuild government’s after the end of violence to work toward protection. With these systems in place, legislation can be passed that lend to the types of mass communications tools mentioned above, as seen in the United States.
Following technological advancements is the idea of the rise of the advanced world and mobilization of people of power. Christine Caine is the founder of The A21 Campaign, a non-profit that exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century, and believes that together, we can end human trafficking. In her book Undaunted, she brings readers into the rescue work of A21 and tells stories of girls forced from their homes due to poverty. Caine is one of the many anti-slavery abolitionists of modern day that are able to share the very real events of those who are enslaved today around the globe. Thanks to air travel and wide broadcasting of her messages from Australia to Greece, the organization is currently rescuing slaves in eleven countries world wide. Leaders like Christine Caine, Gary Haugen and countless politians globally have the power now in the new age of globalization to make a lasting impact at lightening speed compared to that of William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln. Still, these men sought to end a particular cruel practice in their time and actually achieved their goals. It stands to reason that if the people of modern ay globalization set their minds to ending slavery, they maintain every advantage to do so.
As a cautionary statement, Bethany Hanke Hoang, in her book, The Justice Calling, discusses burnout of the modern day abolitionist. Interesting this also affected the aforementioned leaders. After all, fighting to end an age old practice will and should come with its set of challenges. Hoang, a Princeton Seminary graduate and anti-slavery expert, discusses perseverance in her latest book, The Justice Calling. She first acknowledges fleeting hope by stating, “The ideas of hope can begin to appear as nothing more than just that – an idea, fleeting and nebulous, like a vapor that appears for a moment and then evaporates.” Then in her closing remarks Hoang brings readers back to a place of spiritual grounding. As discussed in the first part of this section, the spiritual formation of God’s people is the beginning step in being able to save little girls from the sex trade.
“Justice is most faithfully understood as a fruit of our formation in Jesus Christ. If we do not abide in Christ, if our work is not the abundant fruit of being deeply formed in Christ through the Spirit, our work is dross. We will wither. It is nearly impossible to sustain an impulsive and emotionally driven response over the long haul (without Jesus),” Hoang writes.
As mentioned previously, Haugen cites the end of violence and corruption as the final end of poverty and eventually the end of most slavery. However, even with the end of poverty, the human propensity toward greed and the sin of oppression of others still exists. This gives rise to the need for increase missionaries to lost countries and the complete dependence on God for the daily reminder of the need to be subservient, ironically, to His will.
The eradication of slavery is right around the corner from the advancements of modern times. Were all of the resources of countries already condemning the act of slavery to be pooled together and Christians who recognize their call to become active, the end of slavery would be seen in this decade. In his text on The Bottom Line, Paul Collier, cites: global aid, military intervention, laws and charters, and trade policies as a means of reducing the marginalization of the “bottom billion” or those who are in a position to be exploited. The reality is that we live in a post-American world which is battling all of human sin as has been done centuries previous. Focusing on what the American can do, Fareed Zakaria says, ““For America to thrive in this new and challenging era, for it to succeed amid the rise of the rest, it need fulfill only one test. It should be a place that is as inviting, and exciting to the young student who enters the country today as it was (in the past).” Putting this into practice means that Americans recognize their frailty in light of God’s grace and their own very recent history of slavery and oppression, leading to the willingness to put every resource into protecting those who are currently oppressed, displaced and oppressed. A model which can be duplicated globally to finally see an end to slavery.
“You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
The A21 Campaign. Home. Accessed August 23, 2017. http://www.thea21campaign.net.
"AMBER Alert." AMBER Alert - America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. Accessed August 24, 2017. https://www.amberalert.gov/.
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Caine, Christine. Undaunted. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
Collier, Paul. The Bottom Line. New York, NY. Oxford University Press, 2007.
Easterly, William. The White Man’s Burden. London, England: A Penguin Book, 2006.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, The African. A Norton Critical Edition. (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001).
Global Slavery Index Report. Report. Western, Australia: Walk Free Foundation, 2016.
Hague, William. William Wilberforce: The life of the great anti-slave trade campaigner. Orlando:
Haugen, Gary A., and Victor Boutros. The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Hoang, Bethany H., and Kristen D. Johnson. The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016.
Koehler, Ludwig, Walter Baumgartner, and M. E. J. Richardson, eds. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. Accordance electronic ed., version 3.0. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
Lincoln, Abraham. “Second Inaugural Address.” Abraham Lincoln Selected Writings. New York,
NY. Barnes and Noble Publishers. March 4, 1865.
Steger, Manfred B. 2013. Globalization : A Very Short Introduction. Very Short Introductions, 86.
Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Titus, Christine. Final Research Paper. MD525 Poverty and Development. Fuller Theological
Seminary. May 27, 2016.
Zakaria, Fareed. The post-American world: Release 2.0. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012.
 Manfred Steger, Globalization : A Very Short Introduction. Very Short Introductions, (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2013)1.
 Ibid, cover.
 Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, and M. E. J. Richardon, eds. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, (Accordance electronic ed., version 3.0. Leiden: Brill, 2000), slavery.
 HALOT, slave.
 Bible Time Line: Genesis to Revelation. Compare Bible History, World History, and the Middle East. RW Research Inc., (Torrance, CA: Rose Publishing, 2001).
 Olaudah. Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, The African.
Norton Critical Edition. (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001) 32-33.
 Abraham Lincoln, “Second Inaugural Address” Abraham Lincoln Selected Writings (New York, NY. Barnes and Noble Publishers. March 4, 1865), 726.
 Walk Free Foundation, Global Slavery Index Report. Report (Western, Australia, Walk Free Foundation, 2016).
 William Hague, William Wilberforce: the life of the great anti-slave trade campaigner (Orlando: Harcourt, 2008) 352.
 William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden (London, England: A Penguin Book, 2006), 335.
 Easterly, 311-338.
 Easterly, 336.
 Gary A. Haugen, and Victor Boutros, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence (New York, Oxford University Press, 2014) cover.
 Haugen, 241-275.
 "AMBER Alert." AMBER Alert - America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. Accessed August 24, 2017. https://www.amberalert.gov/.
 Christine Caine, Undaunted (Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2012) 14.
 "Home," The A21 Campaign (Australia, The A21 Campaign, 2017) Accessed August 23, 2017. http://www.thea21campaign.net.
 Bethany H. Hoang, and Kristen D. Johnson, The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance (Grand Rapids, Brazos Press, 2016) 166.
 Ibid, 192-193.
 Haugen, 241-275.
 Paul Collier, The Bottom Line (New York, NY. Oxford University Press, 2007) 99-174.
 Fareed Zakaria, The post-American world: Release 2.0 (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012), 285.