My journey to becoming a human rights activist began while I was a high school. During holiday breaks, my classmates and I organized “Framing Camps” to benefit children in our neighborhood. Later, I had an opportunity to attend a child rights workshop and research conditions in my community. I became aware how widespread child rights violations were. I developed a fierce desire to do everything possible to protect children.
That’s what I do now as the Country Coordinator for the Free the Slaves Aar Sunu Xaleyi (“Protect Our Children”) program in Senegal. I help liberate children from forced street begging slavery, and work to prevent more children from becoming enslaved.
It is for me a daily struggle, with a strong belief that every day tremendous progress can be made to benefit victims. My motivation is strengthened by the large number of young people who have benefited from my many years of intervention and activism. My commitment to the Free the Slaves team is a continuation of this mission. Free the Slaves awakened me to the persistence of a sad reality that each of us had thought was over: slavery.
When you hear about modern slavery, first you are surprised. But then you analyze the situation — people who are victims and those who can become victims. It is at this moment that you realize the magnitude of the problem, and the dramatic existence to which some people are subjected.
Modern slavery in any form is one of the worst human rights violations, a problem for our societies but also a heavy burden for victims who often need help to leave. It is in this sense that I pay a great tribute to all those pioneers who made known this societal problem and especially to develop an integrated and effective approach in the capacity building of communities and victims to free themselves from slavery and take hold of a package of care and services to ensure their emancipation. Through these important community liberation tools, Free the Slaves is working alongside victims to give them the hope of freedom, to regain their lost dignity and to foster the hope of growing, flourishing and developing in a peaceful world where fundamental human rights are respected.
Because I believe in each individual, because I believe in the ideal of peace, freedom and human dignity, I am convinced that within the Free the Slaves team I can use my expertise and convictions to realize my own potential.
Editor’s note: Learn more about Lamine and the Free the Slaves Senegal program here.