Avdim Hayinu, We Were Slaves in the Land of Egypt
According to multiple organizations, there were 46 million people enslaved in 2016, with an estimated 18.3 million of those in India “Andrew Forest puts world’s richest countries on notice: Global Slavery Index.” (Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. Fairfax. 31 May 2016.)
As we sit down at our Seder meals this month we would do well to remind ourselves and others that slavery is not an ancient crime, but alive and well around the world and even in “the land of the free!” Estimates arrange from 27,000 to 60,000 in the United States.
The Sage in Pirke Avot, ethics of the fathers commented, “It is not the interpretations we offer that are essential but the deeds we perform.” In the midst of our imbibing and fressing and blessing we ought “walk the walk” and not merely “talk the talk.” I urge you to read up on slavery around the world and in America. One such organization among a staggering number among dozens upon dozens devoted to ending trafficking, forced labor etc is The Exodus Road
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, The Exodus Road supports active operatives in India and southeast Asia, primarily in Thailand, and in the United States. As of December 31, 2015, The Exodus Road claims to have directly supported 667 rescues, made 191 arrests, works with a total of 201 operatives, and operates in 4 countries. The Exodus Road’s web site states that it is not a faith-based organization. Another site which features an incredible number of similar efforts can be found on Alliance Against Modern Slavery.
Here is a short list of American charities to which you can contribute and help turn the idealized words into idealized actions:
United States Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking LA
Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSEY)
Wishing you a sweet Passover