The Free the Slaves founders will tell you that people thought they were nuts. Most Americans learned in school that slavery ended with the Civil War.
Sure, there are exploited workers in the world today, the founders would hear, but surely it wasn’t slavery. The crime of slavery is a thing of the past.
But over the past 15 years, Free the Slaves has successfully alerted the world that slavery still exists. People are still forced to work, without pay, under threat of violence, and they cannot walk away. In many places, slavery never went away.
Free the Slaves was born on March 2, 2000, in the early days of the new millennium, dedicated to alerting the world about slavery’s global comeback and to catalyzing a resurgence of the abolition movement. Slavery has been outlawed everywhere, but it has not been eradicated. Free the Slaves exists to help finish the work that earlier generations of abolitionists started.
We help those in slavery escape the brutality of bondage. We help prevent others from becoming trapped by traffickers. We help officials bring slave holders to justice. We help survivors restore their dignity, rebuild their lives, and reclaim the future for themselves, their families and their communities.
Slavery will end when businesses clean-up their supply chains and consumers demand slavery-free products, when governments and international institutions toughen enforcement and fund anti-slavery work worldwide, and when activists and advocates educate the vulnerable about their rights and empower those in slavery to take a stand for freedom.
Free the Slaves is making that happen. We are building a world without slavery by demonstrating that ending slavery is possible.
There will be more news about our 15th anniversary later this year. But the news today is: THANK YOU!
Thank you to all who have contributed their energy, enthusiasm, insight, time and money over the past 15 years to making Free the Slaves one of the world’s leading anti-slavery organizations. Together, we have helped thousands move from slavery to freedom — and we’ve prevented thousands more from falling into slavery in the first place.
Nobody thinks we’re nuts anymore.