The Commerce Journal

February 27, 2014

In a fight to end modern day slavery

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Today more than 27 million people in the world are slaves.

As you go about your busy day, stop and think on that for five minutes.

Let that thought sink in for a moment.

At the height of the slave trade in Africa, there were 12 million people captured and shipped off as slaves.

Today that number has more than doubled.

We have come a long way to fight slavery and racism in America, but don’t think the fight is over.

It is far from it.

In America, the land of the free, there are approximately 60,000 slaves currently according to recent estimates from human rights organizations. The saddest part is it happens right under our noses.

The FBI conducted raids in the DFW areas last year and rescued dozens of women from 19 different stores operating as fronts for sex slaves. In other states, they have raided homes in residential neighborhoods where slaves were being held.

It’s scary.

fifty-five percent of slaves are women, and 26 percent are under 18. How many of us have sisters or daughters under 18?

Don’t think that just because we are in Commerce that we are immune to this.

Just this month a Commerce man was arrested for allegedly using a juvenile to distribute pornography. Another Greenville woman was sentenced to jail for the sale and distribution of child pornography last year.

If you see me today, you will see a red X on the back of my hand which symbolizes that I am an active participant to help fight slavery.

Some have said movements such as these do no good and that slavery will always exist, so why fight it?

I fight because I care.

How many people knew there were 27 million slaves in the world before reading this?

If I can raise awareness to help pull even one person out of slavery — that’s one person who is now free — then I will be happy.

To those who already know about this. Don’t just put an X on your hand and think you’ve done something.

Be an active participant.

Give of your time and money to organizations dedicated to ending slavery.

Donate to or, or any other organization such as those.  

Take a survey at to see where your money goes, and which companies use indentured servitude to make the products we have become accustomed to for so long.

As William Wilberforce, a British politician who was a leader in abolishing the slave trade, said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”

Slavery still exists.

Will you fight to end it?