It’s Time to Make Slavery History, Once And For All

Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission.

NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Eileen Campbell, Director of Justice Campaigns at International Justice Mission.

On June 21st, the State Department released its 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report. The annual TIP Report provides a snapshot of the current state of human trafficking globally, and ranks nearly 190 countries–including the United States–into three tiers based on their efforts to combat the problem. Countries ranked on the lowest tier face the possibility of U.S. sanctions–diplomatic power that the U.S. can leverage to encourage other nations to strengthen their laws and devote increased resources to fight the crime.

Experts estimate that there are 27 million people living in slavery today–more than any other time in history. The modern slave owner traps hundreds of forced laborers in a South Asian brick kiln, makes thousands of dollars pimping minors on the streets of Sacramento, or holds migrant laborers captive on Florida’s tomato fields. The essential elements of what we think of as slavery are the same: the exploitation of one human being by another for profit.

Given our own nation’s history, fighting modern slavery is an issue that resonates deeply with Americans, and it has been a rare point of bipartisan cooperation in Washington. This Congress, however, has thus far failed to pass a critical piece of anti-trafficking legislation: The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This bill renews the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which made human trafficking a federal crime and established the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to combat trafficking internationally and monitor progress through the annual TIP Report.

The Senate version of the TVPRA was introduced a year ago this month, and has garnered the support of 45 Senate co-sponsors.  Although the bill cuts spending and passed out of committee in the fall, it has yet to be voted on by the full Senate, and has likewise stalled out in the House. The stalemate has bewildered activists and veteran lobbyists alike; as a New York Times editorial stated, “[p]assing a law to fight human trafficking and slavery is one of those bipartisan no-brainers that Congress used to be able to accomplish…”

Americans are making their voices heard on this issue–both to Congress and the White House. On the same day the TIP Report was released last week, 2012 TIP Report Hero and International Justice Mission President Gary Haugen, and Passion Movement founder Louie Giglio delivered a letter to the White House asking President Obama to boost U.S. leadership against modern-day slavery. The letter was signed by 73,000 Americans, including thousands of Care2 members. The enormous stack of names (about a foot and a half high) made a strong statement about Americans’ commitment to end trafficking.

As we pass the anniversary of our nation’s founding–a nation “conceived in liberty,” in the words of President Lincoln–Congress should come together again to rid the world of slavery, once and for all.

Eileen Campbell is Director of Justice Campaigns at International Justice Mission. International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM’s
Justice Campaigns mobilizes people around the country in support of U.S. policies that will lead to the abolition of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Follow IJM Justice Campaigns on Twitter – @IJMCampaigns.

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Justice and Cash for Sex Trafficking Victims

Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission.


Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

If you'd like to do more, please sign my petition for slavery-free chocolate:

Malgorzata Zmuda
Malgorzata Z5 years ago

Człowiek nie może nikogo czynić swoim niewolnikiem, sam w ten sposób staje się niewolnikiem diabła.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

its a part of our global history. it should be just that, history. a regretful tragedy that we can prevent.

Harley Williams
Harley W5 years ago

I am for ending slavery. But if we forget what we have done in the past it is possible to make the same mistakes over again. The problem is right now to many people mostly men enjoy the wrong tha slavery of women brings. Too many men are no differnt now then they wre thosands of years ago.

mike l.
mike lueras5 years ago

its time to make the u.s.a. history once and for all if not completely wipe its existence out of history and human memory if possible amen?

David M.
David Marchesi5 years ago

A case in the UK this month showed how private enterprise encourages the "commodification" of human beings- a group of entrepreneurs were convicted of enslaving various marginalised men. When we learn to respect every individual and, as a consequence, to moderate our drive to riches and comforts,slavery and "wage slavery" of the worst kind will persist. On the argument about actual slavery and "wage slavery", Americans may wish to look at the discussions of the 1850' and 1860's.A world which sees the price of everything and everyone and the value of nothing and nobody is developing with little opposition, degrading so many human relations.

Arild Warud
Arild G5 years ago

Stop modern day slavery!!!

Antonia Windham
Antonia Windham5 years ago

I've read Niger and Sudan have major problems with slavery and forms of it still exist in many parts of the world. Ugly.

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy5 years ago

Well since i found out some stalker has stalked me since i was a child and non sexually raped me as a child by stalking me through intel and media and then because i did not know raping me with men who did know he was stalking me...well I doubt if he is not caught with his bunch then we wont stop slavery...the USA is lying about was not until 1994 that I knew for sure I had been stalked and not exactly for how long and how the govt enabled and abetted this slime in intel and law enforcement to rape me and stalk me and how I was blamed for his stalking well the US govt, FBi and intel with stalk and rape as long as I cannot get help to get rid of him/and his assholes in my life then you all are not safe either because he is not constrained by govt or law enforcement with his dirt...and I was not his dirt, nor a killer, nor his stalker, nor his I am tire of all this talk of everyone else being victim when I was a victim and did not know it while half the world knew they were stalked...slavery will never stop with the likes of wimps in govt and intel and law enforcement blaming the victim, like myself was the victim of this dirty man and his followers and did not know it.

Janet G.
Janet G5 years ago

Thanks for the article.