For those of us living in the United States, we mostly assume that slavery disappeared at the end of the Civil War. Surely, no other countries have subjugated a group of people in the same manner since the 19th century? Sadly, modern day slavery exists in the form of forced labor, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation. In order to draw attention to the atrocious conditions in which over 27 million people are forced to live an work, the Mountainbrook Abolitionists will be holding the Stand for Freedom rally on Friday, March 15 at 6pm in front of the SLO County Courthouse. For 27 hours, participants will meditate for those in slavery, collect signatures and funds for the International Justice Mission (IJM) and participate in learning activities.
The IJM is a human rights non-profit that is committed to aiding those who are victims of abuse, violence, and exploitative social and economic systems. Investigators, lawyers, and social workers identify and take action for individual cases. By pushing these issues through the legal system, they use prosecution as a means to uncover corruption, lack of resources, and weaknesses within the community. They seek to work on behalf of victim relief, perpetrator accountability, survivor aftercare, and greater structural transformation across the globe. Founded in 1997 by US Department of Justice lawyer, Gary Haugen, the organization now boasts over 500 lawyers, investigators, and staff members, a majority of whom are native to the countries they serve.
“Violence against the poor is not driven by the overwhelming power of the perpetrators – it is driven by the vulnerability of the victims. This violence can be stopped when the power of the law is brought to bear on behalf of those who need it, and when people of good will contribute their financial and professional resources to insisting it stop,” asserts the IJM on their website.
Following in the traditions of abolitionists such as William Wilberforce and leaders like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., the IJM and Mountainbrook Abolitionists strive for a just and equitable society in which to live.