Voices - Modern Abolition

Modern Abolition

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 8:21am

Becoming an Ethical Consumer with Fair Trade

 

According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 45.8 million slaves in the world today and over two-thirds of those slaves are victims of forced labor. Forced Labor is obtaining and transporting of a person for labor through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. Forced labor is the type of enslavement used across the world to produce many products in our global supply chains. The desire to produce a profit is the largest motivating force behind the institution of slavery.

Fortunately, we as consumers can fight forced labor by shifting the demand of our buying habits to fair trade and survivor-made goods. Fair trade is more than just paying a laborer a fair wage, however. Fair trade is a reciprocal partnership based on mutual respect that allows us to buy the products we love without taking advantage of the people who make them. By educating yourself about fair trade and debunking its myths, you can start to change your buying habits and become a smarter consumer.

 

 

Since fair trade clothing and home goods are less accessible to find than fair trade food, for example, here are five ways to build a slave-free closet. By supporting ethical brands, shopping less and choosing better, choosing quality products over quantity, buying vintage or second-hand, and valuing the clothes you have, we hold companies and governments accountable to put people before products.

Additionally, check out our list of many fair trade retailers from EndSlaveryNow.org where you can get started. You can also find your slavery footprint or download our Slave Free Buying Guide, an ethical shopping guide with many suggestions for fair trade products.

 

 

Fair trade doesn’t have to be overwhelming! From now on, take small steps such as switching to one or two fair trade products such as fair trade coffee or t-shirts. Additionally, donate your money or time to a fair trade or anti-human trafficking organization, many of which can be found here.   

We hope you join the fight in ending slavery! 

Madeline Anderson

Intern

National Undeground Railroad Freedom Center

 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 2:45pm

The Importance of Our Volunteers

The volunteer program at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center allows people the opportunity to contribute to the mission while following their interests.  We want our volunteers to be inspired through their passions and our exhibits.  Their inspiration will reflect on our guests, giving everyone a better experience.  We also want our guests to be inspired by our volunteers.  Guests will take this inspiration back to their communities, making them a better place for all who live there.

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization.  Their role is critical to our guests, and to the advancement of the organization.  They do and accomplish things that no other employee can do.  Without them, many of our guests would not receive the amazing experiences they do. Our mission is to challenge and inspire every guest to take courageous steps for freedom today, and that’s exactly what our volunteers do here at the Freedom Center.  We cannot accomplish our mission without volunteers.

Have you considered becoming a volunteer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?

Check out our interview detailing the volunteer program here.

James Harrington

Interpretative Services Manager

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

 

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:49pm

Why Knowing the Red Flag Indicators of Human Trafficking Is Important

Modern-day slavery does not care who you are, what you look like, or where you come from. It can happen to anyone—any of us—at any given time.

It is estimated that 20-45.8 million people are enslaved in the world today, in every country in the world today, including the United States. Although exact numbers are difficult to pin point, in the U.S. we know that in the past eight years more than 31,600 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline[1].

But what is human trafficking? Is it the same as modern day slavery? In short, yes. The United Nations defines human trafficking as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.” [2] Both the definition of “modern day slavery” and “human trafficking” deal with the enslavement of human beings.

As previously stated—slavery can happen to anyone. Not all enslaved people look one specific way, nor do all traffickers look one specific way. However, there are red flag indicators in human trafficking cases that help people correctly identify victims.  And knowing these indicators do help. In 2016, the National Human Trafficking Hotline found that community members called the hotline more than any other demographic. Out of 26,727 calls made last year, 7,545 of them were placed by members in the community who knew the signs.

So, why am I telling you all of this? On June 10th, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center held See & Say: How to Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking, a training workshop aimed at helping people understand the red flag indicators of human trafficking. We wanted to provide the general public with an introductory training of these warning sings, with the ultimate goal if you see something, you will say something. The idea for the program came after a discussion with the Freedom Center’s curator, Dr. Ashley Jordan, about how a person could receive training on the warning signs of human trafficking. This conversation stemmed from the news report on Shelia Fedrick, the Alaskan Airlines flight attendant who was successfully able to identify a victim of human trafficking on her flight last February[3]. Because of Shelia Fedrick’s knowledge of these critical signs, she was able to help a young girl escape enslavement.

Understanding the signs of human trafficking is one of the easiest ways a person can help fight against slavery—it literally just requires you to be more vigilant and aware in your normal, everyday situations. At the Freedom Center, part of our mission is to “challenge and inspire everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today,” and that is what our See & Say program was all about. Our goal was to educate attendees on the warning signs of human trafficking and encourage “if you see something, say something.[4]” 

Katie Bramell

Researcher

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


[1] https://polarisproject.org/facts

[2] http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today

[3] http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/flight-attendants-train-spot-human-trafficking-n716181

[4] http://www.endslaverynow.org/act/action-library/read-and-share-these-red-flag-indicators

 

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 12:33pm

The 9th Annual Aruna Run in Cincinnati: The Morning I Ran for Asha

Waking up early is not exactly my thing, let alone running. But this particular morning I woke up to start my day at 5:00 a.m. to run a 5k. Knowing it was helping to bring a woman named Asha to freedom was that motivation to get out of the bed.

Last month the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center had the opportunity to work with the Aruna Project for the third year to host the 9th annual Aruna Run in Cincinnati. The Aruna Project brings and sustains freedom through employment marked by holistic care to sexually exploited women. In short they free, empower and employ these women to assist them in leading a normal life. They do this by inviting thousands of people across the US to participate in Aruna Runs to raise awareness and money to aid in the freedom process. Asha unfortunately was a part of the monstrosity of sex trafficking. Although I was literally half way across the world from her, my efforts here were going to help get out of her situation.

The Cincinnati Aruna Run, held on May 20, 2017 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was one of the most inspiring races I’ve been a part of. Close to 600 runners and walkers showed up. The weather forecast was one of rain and possible storms, but that did not deter anyone. There were participants of all races and ages, with one common thread – a desire to support freedom for others. One of the most important elements of the Aruna Run is to select a specific woman to run for. These are women known by the Aruna Project that are still trapped in the commercial sex industry and that they are working to bring to freedom. Participants chose who they wanted to represent in the fight for freedom. I ran for Asha. Some ran for Sarika while others ran for Kali. While there are so many entrapped in this form of modern-day slavery, it’s important to remember that each one is an individual. These women are someone’s daughter, or someone’s sister. Each one has a name.

The Aruna Project successfully raised tens of thousands of dollars with the Cincinnati Aruna Run, not to mention the awareness raised about the realities of modern-day slavery. Additionally, this race quite literally embodied the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s mission to encouraging people to take steps for freedom for all. In this instance, approximately 4,265 steps.

Lara Green
Initiative Manager, Modern-Day Slavery

Like/follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Friday, January 13, 2017 - 8:49am

We all have a role to play in ending slavery, and there are many ways to get involved.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and with more than 21 million people enslaved around the world, efforts to combat human trafficking are more important than ever.

“…in too many places around the world -- including right here in the United States -- the injustice of modern slavery and human trafficking still tears at our social fabric. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we resolve to shine a light on every dark corner where human trafficking still threatens the basic rights and freedoms of others.”

– President Barack Obama

Human Trafficking is defined by the United Nations as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. In short, it is compelling someone, thru force, fraud, or coercion, to work or engage in a commercial sex act.

Human trafficking takes on many forms, including sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced labor, and bonded labor. Any enslavement of a child, whether sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced or bonded labor, is considered child labor. Regardless of the form, human trafficking robs people of their freedom, strips them of their dignity, and subjects them to unimaginable suffering.

While much has been done globally and in the United States to fight the injustices of modern-day slavery, there is still much to do. And that begins with awareness. After all, we cannot fight an injustice until we first know about its presence. We all have a role to play in ending slavery, and there are many ways to get involved:

  1. Learn more about human trafficking at www.EndSlaveryNow.org and by reading books and watching films on the topic: http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/books-films
  2. Learn the red flag indicators of human trafficking: http://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/human-trafficking-is-a-health-care-professional-issue
  3. Human trafficking is happening all around us – at the airport, local salons, restaurants, and many more public places. Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number (1-888-373-7888) in your phone. If you suspect someone has been trafficked, call. Your 5 minutes could save someone’s life.
  4. As consumers, we are, in many cases, unknowingly contributing to the demand for products produced by slave labor. Find out how many slaves work for you based on the products you buy: http://www.endslaverynow.org/slavery-footprint
  5. Switch to fair trade products, particularly in industries that are known for using slave labor such as the coffee bean and cocoa bean industries. Download a slave-free buying guide now: http://www.endslaverynow.org/slave-free-buying-guide
  6. There are hundreds of anti-trafficking organizations doing amazing work to combat slavery. Many of them could use your help. Find an organization to volunteer for: http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect.
  7. Stay engaged in the fight. Sign up at www.EndSlaveryNow.org to receive weekly emails with small actions you can take each week to fight slavery. Those small actions add up to make a big impact.

Please join the fight. Until all are free

Lara Green
Initiative Manager, Modern-Day Slavery

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 2:53pm

Gift Shop Sale: Mother's Day Gift Ideas and More!

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Gift Shop at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is full of great gift ideas—including beautifully and locally hand-crafted jewelry, art, souvenirs, apparel, books, toys, fashion accessories, housewares and more!  Now is the perfect time to purchase an inspired gift for mom during our store-wide 50% off sale, where Freedom Center members get an additional 20% off their purchase!

One of our featured fair trade items is from the Nomi Network and Baskets of Cambodia—two non-profits working to empower survivors of human trafficking with economic and educational opportunities. The Nomi Network was founded in 2009, creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Through their network, women gain employable skills, secure vital income and educate their daughters, breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

If you’re looking to gift an experience your mom won’t soon forget, take her to the opening of ENSLAVED—the new special exhibition opening May 7 that documents the lives endured by slaves and celebrates the freedom they never dreamed possible.  The exhibition is a powerful statement about one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time with compelling photography that captures the experience of a moment lived in slavery, allowing the viewer to peek into the lives of those who are enslaved. Click here to learn about the exhibit opening with the photographer of the exhibition, Lisa Kristine.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: ENSLAVED, The Thirteenth Amendment.

More authored by Assia: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Curator, Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 11:20am

2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest: Now Accepting Entries

This week, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced the 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest—a nationwide student art competition challenging students to create works of art capturing America’s struggle for inclusive freedom and equality.

The Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and was developed in 2015 by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to help students draw connections from the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement to the modern day fight against slavery—providing them with a unique opportunity to learn from America’s struggle for freedom and human rights in an engaging way. Students will also have access to online resources and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s extensive collection of historical resources and exhibitions, enabling them to become better acquainted with freedom’s heroes in person and online.

The winning artworks will be featured in a special exhibit on display beginning July 2016 in the museum’s second and third floor galleries. Last year’s grand prize winner, Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, elaborated on her experience participating in the competition, “I have read and studied about the people that fought and hoped for these unjust times to change. Education and awareness are two of the most important foundations of freedom. The sacrifices of those who stood up for equality paved the path for others to follow,” says the Tucson, Arizona native. “It is important to remember all of the people that brought us to this point in time. We have achieved so much in the hope that we can all come together as equals and live in peace forever. We, as a nation, have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before we can keep moving forward as a community, walking hand in hand with our heads held high.”

The 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and is now accepting entries—click here to view full contest rules and learn how to enter.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs?  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter and on Facebook, for more historical posts and images. 

 

Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.

Image: Walking Hand in Hand, By Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, Grand Prize Winner from Sonoran Science Academy, 12th Grade, Tucson, Arizona

More authored by Assia: Reveal Stories: The 18 Black American Athletes of the 1936 Olympic Games International Human Rights Day: Cincinnati Honors Legacy of Helen Suzman, 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment: President Obama Gives Presidential ProclamationFlame Friday: Artist James PateFreedom Center to Host Award-winning Author and Yale University Alumni Jeff Hobbs ThursdayKing Records now a Cincinnati landmarkOn This Day in History: The Preliminary Emancipation ProclamationConnect with History Labor Day Weekend50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

 

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:25pm

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations came together to dedicate a day to raising awareness about human trafficking and the situations of the victims involved and to promote and protect their rights. Today, July 30, is the day the General Assembly chose to make World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The meeting also resulted in the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which gives grants to non-governmental organizations that provide direct assistance to victims from human trafficking.  

Human Trafficking is an unfortunate on-going issue that is happening all over the world.  It is estimated that 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Men, women and children are being treated as slaves within their own country and abroad. Traffickers use violence, deception, threats, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims into horrific situations against their will. The brutality and injustice these victims face shatter their lives and dreams.

There are five different types of human trafficking that this day raises awareness for:

1. Forced Labor- when human beings are forced to work for no pay or under the threat of violence.
2. Bonded Labor/Debt Labor- slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt and cannot leave until the debt has been paid off.
3. Sex Slavery- when women, men or children are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: prostitution, pornography, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, hostess clubs, residential brothels or fake massage parlors.
4. Child Slavery- when children under the age of 18 are forced into child labor, which could be debt bondage, armies, prostitution, domestic work or other forms of hazardous work.
5. Domestic Servitude- when slaves are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces and have no option of leaving.

Human trafficking tends to be an issue most people do not know about or completely understand. You can help be a part of the fight against human trafficking by learning how you can raise awareness in your community and globally. You can also learn more about human trafficking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center by visiting the exhibit Invisible: Slavery Today.

Image Credit: UN website

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 4:09pm

The Youth Pages Toledo App

Human trafficking is a big issue in our country and that is the reason why The Youth Pages Toledo app was created. The app is geared towards children and teenagers because they are most vulnerable to human trafficking. It provides information about the warning signs of human trafficking, including drug abuse, homelessness or runaway status and control by a boyfriend or other individual. The app also provides information like phone numbers and websites on where the youth can go to get help for drugs, health, school, money and work.

The app was developed jointly by the University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition. It cost about $19,000 to develop and was heavily funded by grants from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund and the Zonta Club of Toledo. The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority plans to create signs to promote the app on all of their buses by Fall. They have also trained their drivers to recognize situations among their passengers and along routes that may suggest trafficking or related issues.

The app can be downloaded for free on both Android and iPhone devices with English and Spanish versions.

-Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content: End Slavery Now

More authored by Katie: #FlameFriday: Toni Stone, Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 3:26pm

Freedom Center’s Hathaway debunks myths about human trafficking

Brooke Hathaway, manager of anti-trafficking programs for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, recently wrote a post published on the International Human Trafficking Institute’s website addressing myths about modern-day human trafficking.

Hathaway is also the executive director of End Slavery Now, which advocates for awareness of human trafficking and seeks to inspire everyone to take the courageous steps against slavery today.

In the post, she calls out sensationalist social media posts for perpetuating the myths that trafficking is a crime of kidnapping, that trafficking is an impulsive crime, and that middle-class women and girls are the most vulnerable.

On the contrary, Hathaway explains, human trafficking is much more commonly based on trusting relationships between the trafficker and victim, which develop purposefully over time, and it disproportionately affects minorities and disadvantaged groups.

“While interest in human trafficking demonstrates growing awareness about the issue, it does not translate to any increased understanding of the human pain and tragedy,” she cautions, encouraging readers to gain deeper knowledge about the realities of trafficking. “Consequently, it does not result in any change in individuals’ behaviors or attitudes.”

Click here to read Hathaway’s piece and to watch an interview with her about these myths.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Freedom Center Manager of Anti-Trafficking Programs Brooke Hathaway. Provided.

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868,Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Pages