Anti-Slavery Day – 18 October 2019

Abraham Lincoln said, “Where slavery is liberty cannot be, and where liberty is slavery cannot be”. That was in the mid-nineteenth century and now it’s the 21st century. Doesn’t it seem strange that in a civilized highly technologically advanced globally connected world we still need to raise awareness on anti-slavery, and have a special day marked for this.

Sadly, that is the truth as more reports from agencies like UNODC, indicate that today we have more slaves, than in any other time of the history of the world. Slavery has existed in all societies, and taken different forms. The extreme form of historical slavery was the Transatlantic Slave trade. It was very visible. Slavery now has taken insidious forms and employs deceptive ways to lure victims into newer forms of slavery.

Slavery is no longer connected to economically weaker countries only, advanced countries too have shown a steep rise in global reports. Exploitation of human beings, adults or children, is also one of the biggest money spinners, the most lucrative business in the world today.

Wars, mass migrations, poverty, hunger are perfect situations for exploitation to thrive, but in the 21st trafficking and slavery could be happening in almost every neighbourhood in any countries. Soroptimist have been proponents of the Purple Tear Drop campaign. They raise awareness so everyone understands the issue and can spot the signs of slavery and take affirmative action.

Perhaps you could use the day to celebrate the steps you are taking in the fight against trafficking as you work towards a slave-free supply chain. You could consume or use goods that have not been produced with slave labour in daily lives.

Small impacts do make a difference – would you be in a space of liberty or slavery? Ponder on it this Anti-Slavery Day.

Nisha Ghosh
APD Violence and Conflict Resolution