While President Trump has expressed his desire to take Sudan off the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, the human rights organization, Christian Solidarity International has quietly freed over 900 Christian and non-Muslim people from slavery in Sudan this year alone, with a goal of freeing at least 1500 by the end of 2020. Project manager Franco Majok oversaw the latest liberation efforts but says it is estimated that over 35,000 people are still in bondage.
“I grew up in South Sudan as part of the Dinka tribe so I know this travesty on a personal level,” says Majok. “My niece was kidnapped by Arab militias in the early days of the enslavement and we have yet to find her after many years. CSI’s efforts not only free the slaves but we also feed them and offer them assistance to regain control over their lives.”
President Trump tweeted last week that he was prepared to take Sudan off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list pending their cooperation in paying restitution to U.S. terrorism victims and their families. Slavery in Sudan was revived in 1983, when the Arab Muslim government of Sudan began using slave raids as a weapon in its war to put down Southern rebellion against the government’s imposition of Islamic law.
The government armed Arab Muslim militia groups, and encouraged them to raid Southern villages, steal their property, and take their women and children as slaves. Tens of thousands of people were captured and enslaved. CSI teams discovered a local network of Africans and Arabs working together to help retrieve some of those abducted into slavery. With CSI’s assistance, this indigenous Underground Railroad grew into a sophisticated network that has managed to free over 100,000 people.
Today, for a cost of about $250, CSI frees a slave in exchange for a much-needed cattle vaccine. Each liberated person is then given a survival kit of essential items, a dairy goat, and food as well as health care, plus safe passage back to their families and communities. Majok says while CSI has made great strides, there are still thousands of people who remain enslaved and many daily sustenance needs to be met.
“This year, CSI has helped feed over 6000 families, saving many people from starvation,” says Majok. “Freeing slaves is our first step, but we also make sure they have what they need to live and thrive after their captivity is over. It is my hope and prayer to live to see every South Sudanese slave freed. This is more than just work to me — it is a calling.”
For more information, visit https://csi-usa.org/slavery/.