A review by Christiane Zeigermann on the book Menschenhandel – Die Rückkehr der Sklaverei. Courtesy of jesus.de.

“Germany is the number one transshipment centre for the commodity ‘human being’ in Europe”, one reads on the blurb. And one is surprised about it. How is that possible in the highly developed 21st century? Slavery was abolished. Wasn’t there once this William Wilberforce, whose fight against the slave trade ended victoriously in 1807 with its abolition in the British sphere of influence?

Cover Buch MenschenhandelThere are some areas where many people are not very well informed. For the simple reason that it didn’t happen in public. Human trafficking is one of them. Thomas Schirrmacher is an expert in this field within the Evangelical Alliance. In his book he provides competent and comprehensive information. Human rights organizations conjecture 30 to 45 million slaves worldwide. What does the term human trafficking mean? People are enslaved to exploitation of various kinds: sexual exploitation (prostitution – also of children), labour exploitation (adults and children), for the marriage market, for the cannibalization of organs. Children in particular are often enslaved: as child soldiers, for adoption, begging, and burglaries.

Human trafficking is a global problem and law enforcement is difficult and often unsuccessful. The reasons for the increase in human trafficking include declining border controls, global tourism, the poverty gap, and immense profits for the perpetrators.

What can we do about it?

The last part of the book is dedicated to the question of what each individual can do to combat human trafficking. By reading this book the first step is already done: one is informed and can also make others attentive to this topic. Thomas Schirrmacher recommends to demand from the media a stronger and better reporting, for example by writing letters to the editor. In addition, politicians should be asked to take up this topic (use question times, write letters). The adoption of the “Nordic model” (punishment of punters) for the German prostitution legislation would be a current demand. In addition relevant organizations can be financially supported. The author also says: “Ask your church what contribution it makes.”

Furthermore, the great importance of counseling centers is described. Anyone who has become sensitive to the subject of human trafficking can get involved. The opportunities are multiple, even if it doesn’t seem so at first glance. Perhaps one day a reader of this book will personally visit prostitutes to tell them about God’s love and offer help.

Conclusion

This book is not suitable for a leisurely read and does not help you to recharge your spiritual batteries either, yet I wish it will find many readers. It provides comprehensive and competent information on the subject of human trafficking, of which many do not know that it exists on such a large scale worldwide – even in Germany.

PS: An English translation of the new edition will be published in early 2019. The first edition is still available in English here.

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