I recently saw a documentary film entitled Call + Response, which openly addresses human trafficking and the sex slavery industries in the twenty-first century. After watching it, I feel both lucky to be born and raised free, and extremely disturbed knowing that there at least 27 million people enslaved today. I discovered my inner abolitionist, and knew I had to start doing something immediately.
I decided to check out some of the websites the organizers of the film screening provided to become more informed and to take some action to address the issue. Chain Store Reaction allows visitors to add their names to email form letters, which are sent directly to representatives from companies such as the GAP, Microsoft, Motorola, and Kellogg’s. On the homepage, you can see how many emails have been sent to each business and if they have sent responses. While it is satisfying to simply add my name, email address, and zip code before clicking “submit,” it just seems too easy.
Visitors to SlaveryMap can document and categorize incidents of slavery on a map of the world. I signed up so I can view other people’s reports, and I may even wind up reporting my own. It is a sobering experience to see all of the locations and read some of the reports of forced labor and sex slavery in the U.S.A., of all places. The site just started this year, so don’t let the empty spaces in certain continents and countries fool you... the reports just haven’t been written and entered yet.
Being a twenty-first century abolitionist requires plenty of research to understand how pervasive the scourge of human slavery is in today’s world. The latest Trafficking In Persons Report from the State Department is a great place to start, because it clearly defines what human trafficking is, and classifies each country by its compliance with anti-trafficking laws. It’s a very detailed report, but I found it easy to navigate through the different sections. I was surprised to discover that Ireland and the Philippines are equally ranked; both countries have not done enough to prosecute traffickers within their borders.
Were you aware of the prevalence of slavery today? What can we do to end it for good?