How Many Slaves Work For You?
My number was 43 … If anything, it shows that not much has changed in 150 years. Troubling that 150 years represents just … a slow beginning.
Background: The history/journalist geek in me notes that today is the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation – it’s Jubilee Day. Five days after the bloodiest single day in American history (Sept. 17, 1862) left 23,000 dead, injured or missing in the fields, lanes and bridges around Antietam, MD, Lincoln issued his preliminary proclamation, which went into effect 100 days later, Jan. 1, 1863. It helped keep Britain and France out of the war and led to the passage of the 13th Amendment in December of 1865. Lincoln referred to it again on the field of Gettysburg when he spoke of a “new birth of freedom.”
Slavery, even in the United States, still exists in various forms, however. AgainstOurWill.org reports that between 12 and 27 million people worldwide are estimated to be enslaved. The State Dept. estimates that 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year to feed the market. More than 70% of those are female, half are children.
Demand for goods and services produced by trafficking victims is what makes human trafficking a multi-billion dollar industry. So, on this sesquicentennial, get an estimate on how your lifestyle feeds the trafficking industry from http://slaveryfootprint.org/. Take the survey and find out … how many slaves work for you?
My number? 43. An estimated 43 human beings held against their will, around the world and here in the US, work to make things like our furniture, my iPad, the fruits and vegetables in our refrigerator.
In other words, celebrate today as the moment when slavery yielded to freedom, a moment purchased by the blood of a million Americans in the Civil War. And remember today that we still have much work to do to ensure that that blood expenditure was not made in vain.