Trafficking – 21st Century Slavery

What do you know about slavery in 2012? In the United States, slavery became unconstitutional with the 13th Amendment to the Unites States Constitution. On September 22, 2012, the Emancipation Proclamation will be 150 years old. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also condemns slavery and involuntary servitude. But involuntary servitude is not a relic of the past; it’s a crime that still terrorizes people, and it’s not confined to trafficking of women and girls. It makes life hell for men and women, and for children of both genders world-wide. For an introduction to the issue of trafficking in persons, read the 2012 TIP report. (PS, this is a large file. It takes a few second to load.)

In her introduction, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton said,

“. ..despite the adoption of treaties and laws prohibiting slavery, the evidence nevertheless shows that many men, women, and children continue to live in modern-day slavery through the scourge of trafficking in persons. The anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation marks not just a moment in our history, but an enduring commitment to freedom that we advocate and defend. Because we have not yet realized a world free from modern slavery, that commitment remains relevant today, and leads us to consider what abolition means in the face of modern-day slavery.

One way is to know on whose behalf we work – the survivors. Earlier this year, I visited a trafficking shelter in Kolkata. The young women and girls there had suffered terrible abuse. But with their own drive and determination and with the help of some remarkable women and men they were getting their lives back on track. I met one girl, about ten years old, who asked if I wanted to see the martial arts she had learned at the shelter. As she performed her routine, I was impressed with the skills she had learned; but more than that, I was moved by the pride in her eyes – her sense of accomplishment and strength.

It was the way she stood so straight, looked me in the eye, had a sense of pride and accomplishment.” Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, commenting on her visit to a shelter for trafficking survivors in Kolkata, India. 2012 TIP Report, page 27


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