As a former member of the White House Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Dr. Nancy Wilson was called on to engage MCC churches and members in this historic bi-partisan campaign.
“Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) around the world know what oppression is. This bipartisan legislation aimed at eliminating slavery and human trafficking around the globe is a powerful step,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC. “The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, reminds us that slavery and human trafficking touches all of us and must be stopped! MCC members are urged to spread the word on this freedom movement and to contact their congresspersons and urge them to support the legislation.”
“Today more than 27 million people, many of them women and children, suffer under forced labor and sexual servitude in over 165 countries around the world, including our own,” said Sen. Bob Corker. “As I have seen firsthand, the stark reality of modern slavery is unconscionable, demanding the United States and civilized world make a commitment to end it for good. Despite the pervasive nature of this horrific practice, modern slavery is a crime of opportunity that thrives where enforcement is weak, so raising the risk of prosecution can achieve significant results.”
“Human trafficking, in the form of forced labor and sexual exploitation, debt-bondage, involuntary servitude and the sale and exploitation of children – is one of the great moral challenges of our time,” said Sen. Robert Menendez. “We must end modern slavery in all its forms and U.S. leadership is critical in the effort to combat this grave injustice. Democrats and Republicans speak with one voice on this vital issue. I am proud to stand with Chairman Corker and look forward to the speedy passage of this legislation.”
Advocacy groups and faith-based institutions issued support for the effort, including the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), International Justice Mission (IJM), United Way Worldwide, Freedom House, Rotary International, and Circle of Friends, Inc., among others.
The introduction of the legislation coincides with the End It Movement’s push this week to raise awareness about modern slavery by encouraging supporters to mark their hands with a red “X.” The “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” will culminate on Friday, February 27. The act will charter a 501(c)(3) non-profit grant-making foundation in the District of Columbia to be known as “The End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation.”
The initiative will fund programs outside the United States that:
- Contribute to the freeing and sustainable recovery of victims of modern slavery, prevent individuals from being enslaved, and enforce laws to punish individual and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery;
- Set out clear, defined goals and outcomes that can be empirically measured; and
- Achieve a measurable 50 percent reduction of modern slavery in targeted populations.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.