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Art by Jasmine Chiu, founder of Artists for Freedom (of the 852 Freedom Campaign) and renown artist of justice-themed work
Art (above) by Jasmine Chiu, renown artist & founder of Artists for Freedom, of 852 Freedom Campaign

Knowing about Slavery

By Matt Friedman

During this trip, we have already met many people who are learning about the issue of modern slavery for the first time.  They often ask the question – How could this problem be so prevalent without me having heard about it before?  Part of the reason for this is that the information that is available through the media and the NGO world has tended to focus on a case descriptions, without ever really outlining the size and magnitude of the problem.  There is also confusion about the relationship between human trafficking and slavery.  Many people feel that human trafficking is a far away phenomenon related to women and girls being tricked into prostitution somewhere in Asia.  The association with the word slavery and the fact it also happens in the USA is something completely new to them.  In fact, the idea that slavery still exists in any form comes as a complete shock.  And when the number 45.8 million slaves is used, most people don’t know what to say.

For the world to get involved in addressing the problem, they first need to understand it.  For this to happen, we need to do a better job of educating businesses, schools, churches and the general public.  If communities don’t know about a problem, they will not do anything to help fight it.  With this in mind, general awareness is so important.  This is what we are trying to do on this trip – educate, inform and inspire.