President Obama issued a presidential proclamation on December 31, 2014 to recognize the important task of preventing slavery and human trafficking by declaring January 2015 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 35.8 million men, women, and children around the world are trapped in modern slavery today. That includes forced or slave labor, commercial exploitation, human trafficking, debt bondage, and servile marriage.
The President stated that,“Today, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking. This modern-day slavery occurs in countries throughout the world and in communities across our Nation. These victims face a cruelty that has no place in a civilized world: children are made to be soldiers, teenage girls are beaten and forced into prostitution, and migrants are exploited and compelled to work for little or no pay. It is a crime that can take many forms, and one that tears at our social fabric, debases our common humanity, and violates what we stand for as a country and a people.”
President Obama also recognized forced labor and it’s manifestation in supply chains and businesses proactively ensuring that they do not further exploit individuals in bondage. The United States is one of three (including Brazil and Australia) that are doing so. For example, California requires certain companies to report on their specific actions to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains through the 2010 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.
The month and leading up to National Freedom Day on February 1, will engage national anti-trafficking organizations, government, and faith-based groups, and communities in activities that raise awareness to prevent slavery and human trafficking from happening in their own backyards and understanding the global supply chains that binds us all to this egregious human rights violation.
Because honoring Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms is critical to the freedoms of all people.
Preventing slavery and human trafficking is a monumental task to tackle, however, with committed anti-violence advocates, anti-trafficking advocates, government organizations, immigrant rights organizations, faith-based groups, and communities the task doesn’t seem as daunting when you have a national and global community working together.
What is your community doing for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month? Share with us in the comments section below.