December 2nd marks the International Day for the Abolition of slavery.
Slavery is defined as forced labour or/and debt bondage or/and forced marriage or/and human trafficking. It’s the exploitation of a person who cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception and/or abuse of power.
Many people think of slavery has something dark from our past. Most of us have learned about activists such as Sojourner Truth who was born to slavery and dedicated her life to speak up for those who couldn’t. We have learned about the American Civil War. Unfortunately, the issue of slavery doesn’t end there. Slavery isn’t a thing of the past.
Many people believe that slavery only happens in other countries. It is true that 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. That’s more than at any time in human history. 1 in 4 victims of slavery is a minor. A very large portion of these victims is right here in our own countries. We can’t turn a blind eye to this issue. That only makes us complicit. It’s difficult to take pride in the effort to end slavery in our history when we don’t take the same stance in the present.
You may be surprised to learn that Canada has over 6 thousand people trapped in slavery. In fact, Canada is considered a key way station in the lucrative slave business. Yep. That hit home for me. We see Canada has a beautiful country, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a huge underground slavery issue, one we can’t ignore.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the sex industry.
I don’t know anyone who wants to live in a world with slavery.
When I first learned how widespread the issue was, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what I could do about it. Here are some tips:
- It is proven that there is a link between poverty and lack of education make people highly vulnerable to all forms of exploitation. Help a local organization that works towards assuring every child receive education proper nutrition and healthcare.
- Use your social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to encourage at one person a day to take action against slavery. Public awareness has to grow.
- If you suspect trafficking, in Canada you can call the RCMP, here’s a list of 24/7 contact numbers. In the United States, you can call the National Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 888-373-7888.
- Donate to Free the Slaves international organization.
- Make slavery a political hot topic at the next elections. Every government must enforce their own anti-slavery laws.
Other articles about slavery that might interest you: