The End it Movement has chosen February 27th as the official “Shine a Light on Slavery Day.” But, wasn’t slavery something that ended some 100 years ago? Sadly, we are living in the midst of what is called modern day slavery. In the modern context, experts and international organizations have identified three types of slavery: (i) bonded slavery, (ii) forced labor and (iii) human trafficking. Bonded labor is one of the most widely prevalent methods of contemporary slavery. A person becomes a bonded laborer when their labor is used as a means of repayment for a loan. Forced labor is any work or provision of services which people are forced to do, against their will, under the threat of some form punishment. Trafficking, meanwhile, involves transporting people from the communities in which they live and forcing them to work elsewhere against their will through the use of violence, deception or coercion.
Unfortunately, human trafficking is very lucrative to the criminals that engage in it, with only drugs and gun trafficking surpassing it in terms of its economic impact. Human trafficking represents an estimated $32 billion a year in the international trade. You got that? Not millions, but billions, with a B. Every year, approximately 17,500 people, most of them women and children, are trafficked into the United States alone, and about 300,000 people are trafficked internally within the fifty states. It is estimated that the worldwide number reaches the millions. Out of every 10 cases of human slavery, 8 involve sexual slavery, and for every 10 victims, 8 are women.
What can you, the average citizen, the student, the housewife, the slacker, the hacker, the gamer, the stockbroker…What can you do to help? Well, for starters, you can bring this cringe worthy industry out of the shadows. You can “Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT.” That’s why the End it Movement has started this campaign to promote awareness about this disease that’s infecting the planet, destroying women and children, and polluting the well being of humanity. Maybe we can’t all join an organization that fights against modern day slavery. Maybe we can’t all donate money to organizations that do so. But what we all can do is face the monster head on. We can remove the blinds from our comfortable lives and speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. As the justly celebrated Margaret Mead once brilliantly expressed “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Do your part.
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