I am a Modern-Day Abolitionist…

27 08 2009

Or at least, I’m trying to be. Here’s how I got started:

During my first semester of college, I took a life-changing and perspective-transforming class called “Political Science 47H: Ethics, Morality, Individual, Liberty, and the Law.” The class had the best reading list of any I’ve ever taken: Mountains Beyond Mountains, Blink, Life on the Color Line, Hiroshima, and Disposable People. The last book — Disposable People by Kevin Bales — combines facts and statistics with moving stories to paint a picture of modern-day slavery across the globe.

Up until that point, I — like most people, I imagine — thought of slavery as something in the past: a great injustice but one which had disappeared more than a century ago. But reading the book, I thought: “This must end. What can I do?”

The first step, as any anti-slavery site will tell you, is to educate yourself. Read the facts. Learn the statistics. For this issue especially, which all too often exists as an ugly truth hidden behind everyday life, knowledge really is power.

The next step, for me, came when we moved to Atlanta last month. Unfortunately, slavery is not something that happens “over there.” It’s here. It’s a horrendous problem — and it’s all around us. According to Street GRACE, between 200 and 300 young girls are trafficked each month in Georgia alone. The average age of child sexual exploitation appears to be 14, but girls as young as 10 and 11 have been exploited.

So what to do with these facts? I’ve been educating myself, making inquiries about how I can volunteer, and will keep you posted with any opportunities that arise. For starters, here is a brief compilation of resources that I have discovered thus far (I’ll try to add more as I hear of them):

Resources, Facts, Articles, Documentaries:
Disposable People by Kevin Bales
Stolen Childhoods
Hidden in Plain View: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls in Atlanta
Not for Sale
Slavery Map
Safe House: an article from Creative Loafing
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
At the End of Slavery

Organizations (Atlanta):
Innocence Atlanta
Juvenile Justice Fund
Street GRACE
Wellspring Living
Circle of Friends

Organizations (National/International):
Free the Slaves
Anti-Slavery International
International Justice Mission
Not for Sale Campaign
Free 2 Work
Shared Hope International
Stop the Traffik
Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking: Los Angeles
Children of the Night

Do you twitter?
Innocence Atlanta
Not For Sale
International Justice Mission

What about Facebook?
Street GRACE
Innocence Atlanta
PAST Atlanta
International Justice Mission

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