By now, most of you have been caught up to speed on the human rights violations occurring in Libya. If you were anything like me, you found yourself confused by the reporting. First, you couldn’t quite comprehend how slavery is an ongoing issue in 2017. Second, you are in sheer disbelief that such a crime against humanity could have gone unreported for such a long time. Especially, when you have news alerts going off on your phone multiple times a day and most of those alerts are related to Trump’s Twitter fingers. (Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I get an alert from CNN and I’m like “what did he say now?”)
Again, if you were like me, once you moved past your state of confusion and frustration, you wanted answers on how to stop the problem. You wanted to know what organizations to call and donate money to. You wanted to bombard Capitol Hill to force congressmen and women to stop talking about tax codes and loopholes, and start talking about American intervention. Heck, some of you with a deep pocket and time to spare may have wanted to hop on the next flight abroad and be your own Batman-esque vigilante. The bottom line, some of you like me wanted to do more than hashtag activism.
With that said, I’ve done a little research on efforts to help with the abolitionist movement (anti-slavery cause), and I’m going to pass along some information I picked up. For starters, modern day slavery extends past what was publicized in Libya. According to a report in The Washington Post, there are currently about 40 million people around the world enslaved. These unfortunate individuals are “working” on farms, in factories, on construction sites, in brothels, among other things. And they’ve been forced into slavery with threats or actual acts of physical violence, or been manipulated through false promises, or deceived by cunning slave traffickers. I’ll say it for a second time, slavery is bigger than the isolated incident report in Libya. (Granted, the atrocities in Libya are now the face of this epidemic.)
Once I understood the full scope of this crisis, I discovered that there have been quite a few organizations dedicated to anti-slavery initiatives. For example, Free the Slaves has been around since 2000, and appears to be very transparent in their efforts to help prevent slavery as well as free those already enslaved. Also, the International Justice Mission seems very clear about their directives and stopping slavery among other things.
Oh, and the International Organization for Migration is a great one to highlight in the case of Libya. This nonprofit specializes in ensuring the humane migration of people from one country to the next. Unfortunately, quite a few people caught in the Libyan slave trade are folks just trying to escape their home country or a better life, only to be caught in this age old practice. Whether it’s this charity or the others mentioned, all three welcome donations. Heck, the first two welcome volunteers as well.
If your coins aren’t stacked as high as you’d like to donate, and you don’t have the time to volunteer, help the anti-slave movement by being knowledgeable of the companies where you shop. Websites like Know the Chain and End Slavery Now, give insight on some major companies and where their labor source comes from. If you really want to stay woke, pay attention to what you buy, and what your money helps support. And look, I’m often guilty of being ignorant when it comes to what I buy and where I by it. However, I want to be better.
Now getting back to hashtag activism, it does helps the problem of slavery by bringing more awareness of it’s existence on social media. So continue to do to tweet, post, and snap. But I encourage you to go the extra step and pressure Congress and this administration to take action. Hit them with some email, snail mail, and smoke signals to get the United States to take a stand. Given this current administration, I know that may seem like a waste of breath. However, there is nothing wrong with trying.
Look, I’m not sure if this outrage over the Libyan slave trade will outlast this current news cycle. And I have no idea how long it will take to end a crime that has been happening since the days of the Bible. What I do know, is that a person is worth more than $400, and that freedom should be a right and not a luxury.