Passing on the freedom

Maelle Comrie, a junior at the Orcas Christian School, wrote the following piece for a school project.

by Maelle Comrie

Special to the Sounder

Did you know that today there are 21-36 million people enslaved around our modern world? Did you know that means there are more slaves today than there ever were before? Did you know that human trafficking, only one of many forms of slavery, affects 2.4 million people worldwide each year?

And did you know that out of these people, 80 percent are female and 70 percent are forced into the sex trade? Were you also aware that the United States alone has a rate of 14,000 to 17,500 persons trafficked annually? Do you know what bonded slavery is? A bonded slave is someone enslaved while trying to work off a debt, but with pay so low and interest rates so high, entire families can be enslaved for generations. Did you know bonded slavery is the most common form of slavery, affecting 14-20 million people in 2004? Did you know that in 2013 about 168 million children were enslaved and/or working in hazardous surroundings globally? Have you ever heard of the organ trade? Did you know that some people are even abducted and murdered so someone can sell their major organs? Did you know there are domestic labourers even in the U.S.? And there’s so much more!

Now you’re probably wondering, considering all this, why hasn’t someone done something? There are many reasons. Firstly, slavery is hard to find, and hard to prove. In 2003, out of the tens of thousands of slaves in the U.S., only nine cases were prosecuted. Secondly, slaves are cheap to obtain and cheap to maintain. In Sudan, one slave can cost about $33. Thirdly, it’s so widespread, it just makes it that much harder to stamp out. Fourthly, governments can be corrupt and/or lack the resources to make much of a difference.

And finally, but certainly not the least, so few are really aware of the truth, and you can’t stop what you don’t know about. I don’t know how much of the above info you personally know, but I do know that most of you who read this are surprised at something. This makes passing the word the most important and effective thing a person can do. Anyone with a Facebook account can do it. If we all participated, imagine the effect it could have on awakening people to the truth. Because did you know that although there are more slaves today than at any other time in history, there are also less in proportion to the world’s population than ever before?

And, according to Benjamin Skinner, “within a generation, we can wipe the crime of slavery from the face of the earth.”