Home Crisis Who Picked the Food we Eat, the Clothes We wear: The Other Side of Human Trafficking: 68% of Victims come from FORCED Labor

Who Picked the Food we Eat, the Clothes We wear: The Other Side of Human Trafficking: 68% of Victims come from FORCED Labor


LISTEN NOW! Often times, when one thinks of the words human trafficking, some may consider the rise of sex slavery throughout the world. In our fast-paced culture, it is easy to be focused on what is right in front of us as we find ourselves bouncing from one event to the next without really considering what is happening outside of our immediate sphere of influence. We simply travel from one retail location to another, one shopping experience to the next, and even stroll through our grocery store shopping list. We do all of this without really considering the process that was required to get that particular item to the shelf. Reportedly, only 2 percent of America’s population produces the food for the other 98 percent. What actually takes places for all of these goods and services to be readily available?

When Noy Thrupkaew recently spoke during a Ted Talk, she brought another type of slavery to the forefront of everyone’s thoughts: slave labor. Sex Slavery is a major concern in the world, but what is also a concern is the imbalance of attention given to labor. As Thrupkaew shares, according to the International Labour Organization Global Estimate of Forced Labor in 2012, “Forced prostitution accounts for 22 percent of human trafficking. 10 percent is in state-imposed forced labor; but a whopping 68 percent is for the purpose of creating the goods and delivering the services that most of us rely on every day, in sectors like agricultural work, domestic work and construction.” When we begin to look at the large picture of the workforce within our own United States of America, we see a system that beckons for a closer look.


In its simplest explanation, “Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person’s labor”, as Thrupkaew explains.  The very individuals that are part of harvesting pineapples or apples in a local orchard could be there against their own free will. Thrupkaew shares this pivotal point that quickly highlights the heart of the matter, “…our prosperity is no longer prosperity as long as it is pinned to other people’s pain.” How differently would these realities resonate in our own heart if we met the very individuals that hand-picked the items of produce that we reach for every time we frequent our local grocers?


It is so important that we live a life of gratitude. When we look around, throughout our daily lives in America, we can easily see the many blessings that are all around us. As we consider these sobering truths, it is important to also consider the perspective the Word of God reveals. James 5:3b-5 states, “You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.” When we peel back the history of America, we quickly recognize the injustices that were done upon the backs of other people. God sees everything that has taken place in order for the present day to be the reality that it is. 

We must seek the Heart of God in these matters and be concerned about that which concerns Him. We must embrace the attitude of gratitude, and seek to do that which The Lord’s will would be in matters such as these. Watch the full presentation from Thrupkaew as you learn more about slave labor in America, some of the very stories that she has experienced, how we can respond, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: domestic violence, trafficking, prayer, journalism, prostitution, green cards, immigrants, Ebay, and humility. John and Steve shared in this segment.

screen capture from youtube.com/TED


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