Contemporary Slavery ...
"Nightline" last night carried a remarkable story about slavery in the contemporary world. These assertions stayed with me:
*There are at least 27,000,000 slaves in the world today, more than at any time in human history. They are concentrated in south Asia and on the east and west coasts of Africa.
*There are about 10,000 people living in bondage in the United States at any given time. Most commonly, they are domestic, agricultural, or sex workers.
*About one billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day, making them vulnerable to the blandishments that lead them into slavery.
*The average price of a slave in 1860, about $800, would be about $40,000 in our inflated currency. A slave can now be bought in Cote d'Ivoire for $30. The high cost of investment in human property tended to guarantee some minimal standards in the 19th century. That incentive is no longer there.
"Nightline" put a human face on slavery in the United States today with the story of Given Kachepa. He was an orphan in Zambia, when an American missionary brought him to the United States as part of an African boys choir. Promised an American education and that money raised by concerts would build schools in Zambia, Kachepa found both promises went unfulfilled. The boys choir sang as often as five times a day, as often as seven days a week in American churches. The young men in the choir were fed, clothed, and housed, but they received no income. There were no chains or whips; fear and the unknown held them in bondage. Their release was almost accidental because law enforcement authorities in the United States have little training in how to recognize the conditions of bondage.
Leif Coorlim - 10/29/2010
I am with the media and would very much like to speak with you and see your evidence. Please email me at your convenience. Leif.Coorlim@turner.com
Barbara Grimes Martens - 8/22/2005
I have in my possession both documentary and testimonial evidence to definitively refute every allegation made against TTT: Partners in Education, or specifically against Keith Grimes. No news agency reporting these allegations has ever attempted to contact me, even when they parked outside my home for videotaping. It seems clear they are not interested in facts, just sensationalism that makes for a story with reader appeal.
We cannot take any legal action against these allegations. Our family has been advised that libel laws protect the living, not the dead. Keith Grimes name can be maligned freely since his death, and we have no recourse despite our ability to demonstrate outright lies and intentional bias which resulted in the skewing of every fact and the frequent invention of events reported as "facts".
In regards to the DoL judgment, this is a civil, not a criminal, judgment. The central issue was the definition of volunteerism, wherein the DoL made a new determination and application of rulings and then attempted to apply it retroactively to our organizaiton. We complied with the new ruling immediately, as we consistently complied with every government regulation. The judgment resulted from their insistence that we comply retroactively. (It has always been a mystery to me how any organization could be expected to comply with regulatory interpretations that were non-existent). The summary judgment was uncontested on our part because we did not have the mega-fees necessary for a legal contest of this type.
In closing, I wholeheartedly thank those who here or in other venues have defended my father despite the allegations and the silence of our family. He was an incredibly dynamic man whose heart and energy lives on in the lives of the thousands of people he impacted during his life. His life was entirely given to his vision of helping others. Those who paint him as a villain are doing so for their own purposes. His visionary zeal made him quite a controversial figure, but his heart was solely set on benefitting others at any cost to himself. I don't believe he would really care what people are saying about him now, so long as the young people he loved and lived for are still growing to become everything God made them to be.
Tobey Lane Mallory - 7/27/2005
I might add that although I found the accusations hard to believe, I do realize that any man can be subject to Satan's temptations including Mr. Grimes. It was just hard to believe that a man of Keith Grimes caliber and his family could be part of such a scam.
I have heard there is evidence that Mr. Grimes was involved although I have not seen it. This was an ongoing investigation which was being concluded upon his death. I have to believe until proven otherwise that the reasons for his actions (if indeed he was involved) proved his guilt, it had to have been brought on through some illness resulting from his medical condition. If you knew the man you would understand his nature and the unlikely hood of any involvement on his part in something like this.
Ralph E. Luker - 7/27/2005
Nice to have your testimony. This is not, however, a Christian blog and nothing that you say here addresses the fact that Grimes was charged, not with bus-jumping, but with slave-keeping. I'd let that sink in very deeply, if I were you.
Tobey Lane Mallory - 7/27/2005
Maybe to you this may seem radical but from a youth ministries point of view, many such projects are promoted by churches in an attempt to interest youths who otherwise would not bother to even come to church. How many times has anyone passed by a church bake sale, car wash, bon fire or any of the other numerous activities that youths may engage in? These activities are Christian based and are not intended in any form to "degrade" the Christian message. I can say this without fail that I have never known one child that was not profoundly impacted by these ministries in a positive manner. I know I was.
One does not have to corral youths into one static from of praising Jesus. Often times, witnessing and praising are associated with a variety of activities. All I am saying is that back in the 70's when I knew Mr. Grimes, him and the staff of the youth ministries sacrificed and lead in a manner befitting a Christian and I have to admit that they came up with many different ingenious was to bring crowds of children from neighborhoods whose parents were not regularly in church, whose parents made no attempt to bring their children to church, fun and interesting. Along with these interesting “cheap” stunts came a message of salvation and repentance. And I thank God I was able to be a part of it to hear its message.
Ralph E. Luker - 7/26/2005
Do you mean to tell me that you don't see bus jumping as some cheap publicity stunt that degrades the message of the gospel? Let me assure you, as one Christian to another, that the message of the gospel is that Jesus rendered bus jumping and all other stunts in his name absolutely unnecessary, counterproductive, and cheap.
Tobey Lane Mallory - 7/26/2005
I personally knew Mr. Grimes while attending a private school in which he and a select few other caring Christians began in League City Texas throughout the 70's. I was shocked to hear of the accusations brought on form government officials. I was likewise saddened to hear of his passing due to a brain tumor. All I can say is that something terribly wrong must have gone wrong because the man I knew growing up could never have been an anything which exploited anyone in such a manner. I can remember the numerous ways and lengths he would go to bring young people into the church, including go to the extremes of performing dare devil type stunts such as attempting to jump over a church bus which resulted in both of his arms being broken. Although the pain must have been great, this resulted in more children throughout the entire area attending church services that day leading to a movement that can only be described as nothing short of a miracle. I realize that we all have our faults and Mr. Grimes was no exception. If by chance he was involved in any wrong doing it certainly was due as a result of something gone wrong from a medical standpoint because the man we grew up to know and love could and would not have ever been a part of such a thing.
Sidney Ray Grimes - 1/25/2005
Education efforts can certainly fail and court judgments can be unjust or wrong. I will simply state that in my opinion Keith would not exploit anyone, but he would give his life to help. You are correct that piety should never cover expoitation.
Ralph E. Luker - 1/24/2005
I don't believe that you addressed the hard issues, like the education promoted in Africa and the $900,000 court judgment. Piety has covered a lot of exploitation.
Sidney Ray Grimes - 1/24/2005
Jonathan, you are right. As a cousin of Keith Grimes, I know that Keith gave his entire life to helping others. He would not and did not participate in any form of slavery. It seems that when Christians like Keith and Jane try to help others as we all should, then someone has to try to make it look evil.
Ralph E. Luker - 9/25/2004
Mr. Grimes, I'm pleased to have this note from you, but I am also skeptical. I doubt that "home schooling" via the "Accelerated Christian Education school curriculum" is any adequate substitute for a standard public education. Do you have _any_ evidence that the young men in the choir were being paid for their work? Specifically, what schools in Zambia did the money raised by your uncle and this choir establish and how can such schools continue to function without that support? I assure you that slaveholders in the old South would have made an argument quite similar to the one you've just offered: we did them the favor of bringing them to the United States, taken care of their needs, and civilized them. Can you explain why there is a standing court order for your uncle's estate to pay a judgment of over $900,000 to the young men he exploited?
Jonathan Elijah Grimes - 9/25/2004
I'd like to let you know you have been misinformed about Given Kachepa. My uncle, Keith Grimes, was the director of the organiztion who brought him over to the US. I worked with them for a short period of time before my uncle passed away of brain cancer. The organization started multiple schools in the nation of Zambia from the money the guys brought in, and those schools are still working and thriving in that country. Recently there have been several people trying to deface this organization, and have been pushing for the buys to go forward with these stories of "slavery." The only thing I have to say, is where are these boys now? Living in America, fully educated, and perfectly taken care of. They were educated their entire time with the choirs using the Accelerated Christian Education school curriculum. I'm not trying to come down on you about the issue of slavery today, but this example was false, and I'm very sure that in the near future if you continue to watch "Nightline," this entire situation will be cleared up about Mr. Grimes and the Zambian Accapela choirs.
Oscar Chamberlain - 9/23/2004
It is always good to be reminded that even our fiercest political opponents are not necessarily enemies.
David Lion Salmanson - 9/22/2004
It pains me to say it, but this is one area where Ashcroft is getting it right. He has poured money into the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division Anti-Slavery Unit and increased prosecutions and convictions considerably. A friend of mine who feared for his job when the Bushies got in put it this way, "it turns out everybody is against slavery."
Jonathan Rees - 9/22/2004
Actually, it's a lot easier to find circumstances comparable to slavery in the United States than you'd think. I'm thinking about guest workers and their story is covered here: