- 12:38 pm - Thu, Dec 15, 2011
- 1 note
Special Envoy to Congo Appointed!
Free the Slaves and our frontline partners in the DRC have found multiple forms of slavery in and around mining areas of eastern Congo. We in the U.S. are not separated from these human rights abuses, because there is evidence that minerals from Congo mines end up in the supply chains of cell phones, batteries and laptops—products we use everyday.
Through slavery at gunpoint, debt bondage, peonage, sexual slavery, and child soldiering, the “Three Ts” (tin, tungsten, tantalum) and gold are mined and smuggled into the global trade in metals. Because U.S. consumers and businesses are economically connected to slavery in Congo, we must be accountable. That’s why Free the Slaves worked with several other NGOs to call for the U.S. government to appoint a special envoy to the Africa Great Lakes region.
Uniting with representatives from affected industries, NGOs, human rights organizations, and socially responsible investor groups, we have called upon the Department of State to prioritize diplomatic efforts required under the Conflict Minerals Act and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act.
We are pleased to announce that last Wednesday, the White House appointed Ambassador Barrie Walkley as the Department of State’s new Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, which includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“If given sufficient authority and autonomy, Ambassador Walkley could be the needed shot in the arm for the administration’s efforts to make progress on the conflict minerals trade, dismantling the LRA, and tackling justice and security sector reform in Congo,” said John C. Bradshaw, executive director of Enough Project.
Free the Slaves will be watching closely with encouragement and hope for real action to take place in the DRC. We believe that if slavery can be eradicated where it is most entrenched, it can be eradicated everywhere.
- 11:21 am - Tue, Dec 13, 2011
- 1 note
In Nepal, Free the Slaves has partnered with AATWIN, GMSP, Shakti Samuha, and WOSCC to rescue victims of various forms of slavery, address the root causes of slavery at the community level, and also build a national movement to institute laws that would make freedom sustainable.
In this video, you can see first-hand the situation of Nepalese women enslaved in “cabin restaurants,” children carrying loads their body weight in rock quarries, and even children exploited by circuses.
Despite the prevalence of slavery in Nepal, there is great hope and expectation as local slavery survivors are banding together to create positive, lasting change within their communities.
Witness their amazing work and life transformation in this video!
If you would like to support FTS’s anti-slavery activities, please visit our Freedom Education Project!
- 11:29 am - Thu, Dec 8, 2011
- 3 notes
A Slavery Survivor Story: “Thank you for coming and getting me.”
Like tens of thousands of children in Haiti, Cam-Suze was held as a restavec, a child slave. Haitian parents who lack the resources required to support their children must often send them to work for a host household as domestic servants. However, restavec is considered modern day slavery since children may be denied a proper education, and could be abused, beaten, or raped.
But, Cam-Suze’s life changed when she met Free the Slaves’ partner, Limye Lavi.
THEN AND NOW
When she was recently asked to contrast her life now with a childhood in slavery she said: “Oh my life was in danger! [But now] my life is beautiful.”
The term ‘beautiful’ certainly wouldn’t describe the early years of Cam-Suze’s life. In fact, she says she lived in misery. Now 15 years old, she was first enslaved at the age of six. Like many restavec children in Haiti, she was forced to work for a family. Looking back, Cam-Suze remembers: “I did a lot of work. I would carry water, I would sweep. I would take the children to school [and] they would beat me, they hit me.”
All of this was before being rescued by Limye Lavi, Free the Slaves partner organization in Haiti. Now, reunited with her mother, Cam-Suze recognizes that she “went through a lot of misery and it’s thanks to Limye Lavi that I’m here today, not doing that any more.” She goes on to say that now she’s happy because “I’ve been delivered from the misery and now I’m in school.”
And what would she say to those who helped bring her to freedom? “I would lift [them] up and carry them on my head to tell them ‘thank you for coming and getting me.’”
Looking forward, she says, “I’d like to do very well in school so I can help my mother and help other people who are going through that misery too.”
Want to be an abolitionist and rescue children like Cam-Suze? Visit The Freedom Education Project and join our campaign to free a village in India and provide CA public schools with books on slavery!
You change one person, you change the world.
- 11:58 am - Tue, Dec 6, 2011
- 3 notes
IndieGoGo: The Freedom Education Project Launch!
We’re really excited to announce the launch of our new crowdfunding initiative, The Freedom Education Project! Based on platform IndieGoGo, the goal is simple- get 27 copies of Slavery: The Book donated to California Public Schools and Libraries. The book will also contain an educational multi-media packet which can be used as a teacher’s aid. 100% of the funds will go towards the Free the Slaves Free a Village, Build a Movement project.
We can end slavery in our lifetime-everyone has a role to play.
Let’s help educate the next generation of abolitionists- and help free a village while we’re at it!
- 11:56 am - Thu, Dec 1, 2011
- 14 notes
Initiative strengthening anti-trafficking policies headed for CA state ballot
On December 10th, California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation will launch a joint campaign to move their ballot initiative, Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, forward for the 2012 State Ballot.
The CASE Act has groundbreaking implications for the issue of sex trafficking, and contains the following provisions:
- Increase prison terms for human traffickers, up to 15-years-to-life for sex trafficking of a minor
- Increase fines for human traffickers, up to $1.5 million to fund victim services (grants administered by California Emergency Management Agency)
- Remove the need to prove force to prosecute sex trafficking of a minor
- Mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement
- Make sex traffickers register as sex offenders
- Require all sex offenders to disclose internet accounts
- Prohibit use of sexual history to impeach or prove criminal liability of trafficked victims
The initiative has already been endorsed by 16 of California’s largest police associations, the KlaasKids Foundation (Polly Klaas), crime survivors and anti-trafficking groups.
Visit http://californiaagainstslavery.org/ to learn more!
- 12:23 pm - Tue, Nov 22, 2011
- 4 notes
Make Art, Ignite Freedom
This past weekend, Nov. 18 to 20, ArtWorks for Freedom highlighted the issue of human trafficking in a new multimedia piece called “In Plain Sight.” This World Premiere Collaboration between choreographer Christopher K. Morgan, composer Ignacio Alcover, and photographer Kay Chernush drew inspiration from Chernush’s “Bought and Sold” series of images, which were integrated with dance, movement, and original music.
Chernush has described her “Bought and Sold” series as “an attempt to put a human face on the statistics and headlines, to tell the stories of modern-day enslavement and the journey towards freedom.”
The four performances of “In Plain Sight” were part of a dance program called “Reveal,” which inaugurated the newly renovated Black Box Theater at the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, MD.
“It has been a galvanizing and inspiring process to see this subject matter anew, through different artistic lenses and the creative synergies between Christopher, Ignacio, the dancers and my images,” said Chernush.
Check out the “Bought and Sold” exhibit here.
Kay Chernush has worked extensively with Free the Slaves, helping us document our frontline work. She took the striking image above, of laborers in charcoal camps in Brazil. Slavery is found in the supply chains of Brazilian pig iron, produced in charcoal camps like the one above. (For more information about our work in Brazil, go here!).
This past Saturday, another artist decided to give a voice to the voiceless, quite literally, through rap, at the Mahal Benefit Concert in Fullerton, CA. At this benefit for the Mahal Foundation (“mahal” meaning love in Tagalog), which supports orphanages in the Philippines, rapper Mickey Cho performed a chillingly heartfelt song called “Not for Sale,” dedicated to women and girls in sex trafficking.
“Her life is worth more than that / Her life is worth more than that…
We use the internet to search up all the best gifts / But these girls are being sold around on Craigslist”
Listen to “Not for Sale”
- 12:03 pm - Tue, Nov 15, 2011
- 1 note
From ruin to richness of life
“Dear children, and especially the children we are saying goodbye to in this ceremony,
Remember one thing:
You are not the same children as when you came here.
You are now aware of your rights—the right to protection, the right to education, the right to develop your mind, the various rights that a child is supposed to have.
(Everyone sings together) We are not afraid today…we are not afraid.”
Through this 24-min. documentary, Freedom and Beyond, witness the activists of Bal Vikas Ashram in action as they conduct a dangerous raid on an Indian carpet loom to rescue enslaved children. You’ll meet Rambho, who was sold by his mother to traffickers after his father passed away and their land was confiscated. At the shelter of Bal Vikas Ashram, children like Rambho relearn their right to “play, bread, study, and love.” Six months later, with their certificate of freedom in hand, they return to their families with heads held high to lead enriched and productive lives. More importantly, they’ll live with the knowledge and determination to never again sell their childhood.
Watch the heart-stopping raid and the work, love, and dedication that transformed Rambho and his entire community here: http://www.freetheslaves.net/Page.aspx?pid=317
Check out this virtual tour of Bal Vikas Ashram: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freetheslaves/sets/376818/show/
- 11:48 am - Thu, Nov 10, 2011
- 3 notes
Slavery is calling for its own end. We must answer that call.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, FTS International Advisor
- 11:05 am
- 4 notes
A slave is first and foremost, a PERSON
In this excerpt from Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves by Kevin Bales, President and Co-Founder of Free the Slaves, we see that slavery not only takes a toll on the body, but moreover, the mind, the heart, and the human spirit.
“Located a few miles outside of New Delhi, India, is a rehabilitation center called the Mukti Ashram. When I drove up to the big steel gates set in the walls around the ashram for the first time, I worried that they seemed a little too threatening to be the entrance of a children’s home. But inside I found a garden overflowing with flowers, and children happily rebuilding their lives. I also found the reason for the strong gates: the ashram is a place where child slaves are brought when they have been freed, and the gates protect them from slaveholders who sometimes try to drag them back to slavery. Raj is typical of the children who live there.
Kidnapped at the age of eight, Raj was taken hundreds of miles from his village and forced to work at making carpets. Locked into the hut that housed the carpet loom, he was fed little, slept next to his loom, was sometimes beaten, and was never paid. He and a number of other children were under the complete and violent control of the man who ran the looms. Raj was forced to work from very early until very late; he was given no schooling and no play. He was beaten if his work slacked off. As he bent over the loom, his spine began to curve. As he constantly breathed fine wool dust, his skin and throat itched and his lungs clogged. His eyesight began to fail as, shut inside the dark shed, he strained to see the tiny knots he was expected to tie over and over again. Cuts, injuries, and illnesses were ignored.
After five long years of bondage, antislavery workers carried out a raid on the loom. They found a stunted, confused, sick, and intellectually underdeveloped child. Raj was withdrawn, in shock, and frightened as a result of the trauma of beatings and enslavement. His total being, his body, mind, and spirit, needed immediate help. Raj’s story is not unique; he is one of thousands of children in the same situation. The crucial difference is that Raj is one of the lucky few who have been rescued.
The children at Mukti Ashram make up just a small part of the millions of slaves around the world. Antislavery organizations do their best with limited resources, but their work is often reactive and piecemeal and is accomplished in the face of official resistance. And once Raj has been freed, what then? How to treat his injured body may be clear, but how do you reach into his injured mind? In the United States or Europe, a child who has been kidnapped and held in captivity for five years would automatically be given therapy and counseling. It would be assumed that the child would need help for years to come. The trauma of slavery is just as bad, and recovery takes time. Freedom is not the end; it is only the beginning.
Raj is scarred. The scars on his body will fade with time, and proper nutrition will strengthen him. The scars on his mind and on his spirit are harder to see but no less deep. The obvious course of action would be to consult the body of knowledge and expertise built up by doctors and psychologists about how to help freed slaves—except that this body of knowledge does not exist…
Raj’s case raises a swarm of questions…What diet, medical care, and physical rehabilitation will return his health and youth? How do we reach his mind? Will his spirit recover? Will he be able to trust and love other people? How will the trauma of slavery affect him as he grows? Will Raj grow angry? And if he does, how will he direct that anger? Can we find his parents?…What about the other children still in slavery? How do we find them? How do we get them out?…
Then some of the questions hit us right in the heart:
Are we willing to live in a world with slavery?
Are we willing to share in the profits it generates?
Is there some difference between our own children and children forced into slavery that makes it acceptable?
Do all humans have the right to freedom, or is freedom just for the fortunate?”
Like you and me, a slave was born free.
Like you and me, a slave was born with dignity.
Like you and me, a slave was born with potential.
Like you and me, a slave was born to be loved and to love.
What will you do to set
a slave a person free?
- 12:09 pm - Tue, Nov 1, 2011
- 5 notes
America, Land of the (Un)Free
What is the dream that you are currently living for?
Each year, thousands of people arrive in the United States with a dream—a dream to escape poverty, pursue an education, or improve the well-being of their families.
However, these noble dreams are often crushed when one finds himself deceived, coerced, and physically threatened into a state of slavery.
Maria’s dream was to earn money so that her parents may live comfortably; instead, she was enslaved as a domestic servant and victim of sexual exploitation in Southern California.
Miguel’s hope was to work in the States to treat his 6-year-old son who had cancer; instead, he was enslaved in Florida as an orange harvester by violent captors.
Rose’s expectation was to have a babysitting job and enjoy an American education in Maryland; instead, she was worked ruthlessly as a domestic servant in our nation’s capital.
Take a look into these lives, resonant of 15,000 to 18,000 people who are trafficked into OUR NATION every year, through this amazing 36-min. documentary, Dreams Die Hard:
“I just want somebody to listen, to believe me, and to know that what I’ve been telling is true..and just a little bit of justice.” - Maria
America, Land of the Free? Think again.
“Dreams can be crushed, denied, suffocated, even enslaved. But there’s power in dreams—a single ray of light, a hint of hope, and dreams somehow flicker back to life.”
- 11:52 am - Thu, Oct 27, 2011
- 5 notes
What was your life like when you were 13?
When Sina turned 13, she went on a vacation to neighboring Cambodia, where she was betrayed and then sold into slavery.
She woke up covered in blood in a strange room.
She had been drugged, and raped.
Trapped in a brothel, Sina was raped by 20 to 30 men nearly every day.
If she didn’t smile and pretend she was happy, she was beaten.
If she hesitated to please a customer, she was tortured.
“I was sick and shaking,” Sina recalls, “but if I didn’t service customers I would be locked in the dungeon. They would tie my hands and tie my feet. And they would splash water over me, and they would shock me. When I was shocked, I felt like my spirit just left me.”
This was Sina’s life for two years.
But her story did not end this way.
Through a raid organized by former slave and now anti-slavery activist Somaly Mam, Sina was freed.
From her pain she gained strength, and fighting back her harrowing memories, she offers rescue, compassion, and hope to women and girls in similar situations.
Sina will never be the same, and we at Free the Slaves draw inspiration from the way she uses her freedom to free others.
Free the Slaves works on the frontlines with local organizations in India, Nepal, Haiti, Ghana, Congo, and Brazil to rescue, rehabilitate, and empower slaves.
You can join us and become an abolitionist today by funding these anti-slavery projects: https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=240
Be a Freedom giver: https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=184.
A little goes a long way.
May the abolitionists unite,
Free the Slaves
- 3:53 pm - Wed, May 4, 2011
- 6 notes
I track the human trafficking tag on Tumblr, and it seems to barely get any attention compared to other world issues that I see showing up on Tumblr. Now, maybe there are other tags that I don’t follow related to human trafficking that get more attention, and I’m still new to Tumblr and haven’t…
- 3:13 pm
- 5 notes
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
Help Free the Slaves and the frontline heroes we support. Donate today!