The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, December 2nd, is a day that shines a spotlight on a collective pursuit to eradicate all contemporary forms of slavery. Slavery may take on different forms but at its core slavery assails the inherent rights, dignity and freedom of every person created in the image of God.
One year ago, faith leaders from a broad range of backgrounds gathered for the launch of the Australian Freedom Network launch, where Hillsong Church was among those who signed the ‘Joint Declaration of Faith Leaders Against Modern Slavery’ – a declaration to inspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people of good will everywhere to eradicate modern slavery across the world by 2020 and for all time. Brian signed the declaration and declared, “As a local church in Australia we are opposed to slavery in all its forms and are passionate about eradicating human trafficking across the globe.”
One year on, the commitment to unite around the common goal of eradicating slavery remains strong. As a church we are committed to responding to injustice in our world. This year we’ve been declaring in song, “let there be light.” It is a bold statement that has a tangible implication. The lyrics of the song remind us that light looks like Jesus. Jesus who came to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2).
We are not averting our eyes from the confronting reality of slavery and trafficking in our lifetime, nor abandoning our responsibility to respond. One response is seen in the Colour Sisterhood, a growing movement of women across the earth with a mandate to place value upon womanhood and humanity. This is outworked through partnership with various organisations, each with their own unique endeavours but together forming a broad expression of God’s heart for humanity. Partners like the A21 Campaign and World Vision who uphold justice for those for whom it is being denied.
As a Sisterhood and the Church we continue to explore ways to play our part in combatting the evil of slavery in our world through providing a platform for critical issues to be articulated and sowing finance through various channels to support trafficking awareness, prevention and aftercare services. We also seek to contribute to a range of initiatives to combat poverty that creates conditions in which slavery can exist.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5. Light shines when a child from the streets of Mumbai or a township in Cape Town receives education support so they will have a broader range of choices available to them, and when a young woman learns of her inherent value and worth for the first time, and when a woman in Cambodia is supported to care for her baby in seemingly impossible circumstances, and when a group of women, babes in strollers and black t-shirts on, ‘Walk For Freedom’ bringing awareness and response. (2016’s ‘Walk for Freedom’ involved over 300 walks in 40 countries!).
We declare light into the darkness of slavery in our world today. We declare freedom for the estimated 45.8 million men, women and children that are enslaved (The Global Slavery Index 2016). We pray “let there be light” wherever there is injustice across the globe (#middaybabymidday).
There is much yet to be done and we need to play our part, each found in the soil of our own calling, planting and convictions. William Wilberforce, the great abolitionist of the 19th Century, encouraged those engaged in the fight for justice with words that remain true for us today, “Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.”
For more information on the Colour Sisterhood initiatives and how to get involved visit our website.
 Includes trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.