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A spoonful of sugar—not taken—helped bring down the global slave trade. Starting around 1791, abolitionists in Britain, with Quakers at the forefront, boycotted the sugar that slaves produced on Caribbean plantations. At the time, refined sugar was Britain's largest import and a crucial link in the global economic exploitation of human beings in sugarcane fields.

The genius of the sugar boycott was that everyone could understand it and anyone could participate. Some 300,000 Brits made common cause through the boycott. In response, retailers soon offered sugar "ready for sale, produced by the labor of freemen." Sales soared. The boycott's success became one of many factors that 200 years ago led the British to abolish the trading of slaves.

Starting on page 30 of this issue, we present a package of articles on modern-day slavery and slave trading, also known as human trafficking. Senior writers Deann Alford and Sheryl Henderson Blunt examine different aspects of a terrible practice that many are shocked continues today. Parachurch leader Gary Haugen makes a persuasive case that Christians should recommit themselves to the antislavery cause. Our editorial page notes the enduring lessons from British abolitionism, and Mark Moring, CT Movies editor, assesses Amazing Grace, the new feature film on Wilberforce.

Why devote so much attention to this topic? Slavery is larger than ever. Tea with sugar may not be a "blood-sweetened beverage" in 2007, but hidden links to modern slavery may be in the clothes we wear or the food we eat.

Here's our Beginner's Guide to Abolitionist Activism:

Make a call. Phone 1-888-428-7581 if you see someone being forced to work or held against their will. The U.S. Department of Justice operates ...

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No Spoonful of Sugar
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In the Magazine

March 2007

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