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A place with hope

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Claire Brucker

Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:00 am

Imagine a little boy toiling in the hot sun, an adolescent girl being forced into marriage, and an old man struggling with dangerous, back-breaking labor for his entire life. This is the reality for nearly 30 million people living as slaves today, according to the Global Slavery Index by the Walk Free Foundation.

Martin Luther King Jr. would be equally dissatisfied with the current presence of slavery in the world, because he tried so hard to end it throughout his life. I think that slavery is a brutal way to treat people and that we, as fellow humans, should speak out and try to end it because it is harming millions everywhere.

It may be hard to fathom, but slavery exists in almost every country on the planet. Even in developed countries like the United States of America, with education and protective laws, we too have slavery within our borders! The countries with the most slaves are India with 14 million, China with 2.9 million, and Pakistan with 2.1 million slaves. A quote by Martin Luther King Jr. sums up how we should react to this disturbing news: “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their adulthood and robbed of their dignity ...”

Slavery takes on many appearances in the world. Modern day slavery includes human trafficking, which is when people kidnap either children or adults and sell them as slaves. Another practice is forced labor, where kids and adults are forced to work long hours each day with no pay. Forced marriages, debt bondage and exploitation of children are also forms of slavery that happen throughout the world today. In India, even domestic workers are treated as slaves. These individuals have no money, no freedoms, no safety, no contact with their family and no choice regarding their situation!

If Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive today, I know he would have an opinion and an impact on abolishing worldwide slavery. I know he would be pleased that people have come together to publish the Slavery Index, educate their readers and try to stop slavery. Dr. King said, “So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.” He would want us all to work together to rectify this problem and abolish slavery. He also said, “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

Everyone has value and should be free to choose their own life. Dr. King once stated, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.” We need to try to stop slavery and give every person their freedom. It is horrible to think that someone is being abused and mistreated during this age while others have so many freedoms. People take advantage of the poor, young and uneducated.

To stop this, all we need is hope and people to stand up for what is right, just like Martin Luther King Jr. did. He said, “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” This can be done by being smart about your purchases. Do not buy from companies that use slaves. Give money to organizations that help educate kids and provide opportunities for them. Speak out for what is right and never be silent when you see injustice.

Slavery is an epidemic that needs to be eradicated. I know that Martin Luther King Jr. would help all people fight for their freedom by organizing them and inspiring everyone to stand up for what is right. In his most famous speech, Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

Claire Brucker is the sixth grade’s first-place winner in the 2014 Art Raab Memorial Essay Competition. Brucker attends Larson Elementary, where her teacher is Mrs. Peters. Students wrote on the theme: “Take a world event and talk about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would react to that event.”

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