#RefuseToDoNothing Chapter 2 – We’ve Done This Before

Chapter 2 begins with a simple sentence. “Slavery isn’t new.” That short statement is both powerful and humbling. It is disheartening to read that “modern-day slavery is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with profits of more than $32 billion” and that eighty percent of the estimated twenty-seven million modern-day slaves are women and children (25). However, that is not the end of the story.

Part 1#1We are seeing glimmers of light in this fight against human trafficking. For example, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 is mentioned in this chapter. This legislation is viewed as the most important tool to protect those who are victims of labor trafficking, commercial sex trafficking, and war children. The International Justice Mission was one of the organizations lobbying to get the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act signed. Thanks to their lobbying efforts, signatures on postcards and calls to congressional representatives from people like you, that bill was signed by the President on March 7, 2013.

Currently, there are two bills in the Senate and House in which you should be aware:

Senate Bill S. 1249 “to rename the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking of the Department of State the Bureau to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and to provide for an Assistant Secretary to head such Bureau, and for other purposes.”

And the companion House bill:

House Bill H.R. 2283 cited as the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act. The purpose of this bill is “to prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.”

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Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act seeks to close “significant gaps that remain regarding human trafficking that targets innocents in our child welfare system” said Marco Rubio. “One of the greatest challenges in combatting child trafficking is the lack of reliable data on which to base law enforcement or policy responses…increased data collection will provide more accurate statistics on the number of children trafficked and ensure that law enforcement and policymakers can better address the problem,” reports North Carolina Senator, Kay Hagan.

Senate Bill S. 1823 and the companion House Bill H.R. 1732

All four of these bills are bipartisan efforts, reminding citizens that human trafficking is an issue that both Democrats and Republicans agree. We all know that human trafficking is bad and we want it to stop. If you want to answer the question, “How do we interact with slavery in our towns, with our children, in our communities and churches?” TAKE ACTION NOW to contact your congressional representatives and ask them to co-sponsor these bills.

Recognizing different forms of slavery, and acknowledging that some forms of slavery have been abolished in our country’s history should give us great hope that we can and will one day see the end of modern-day slavery. Let us be people who pay attention to “some common areas in which trafficking victims have been identified in the United States:” commercial sex industry, agriculture, industry and manufacturing, retail businesses, and private homes (30).

The authors seek to inspire us to action by looking at the lives and legacies of the abolitionists who have gone before us and stood for the good of humanity. Those abolitionist “prayed…raised money… organized…spread the word…and boycotted products produced by slaves (33-34).” Abolitionist like Frederick Douglass believed in the power of the American citizens’ vote, the power of education, and the need to fight for freedom for all. We can stand on the shoulders of these giants and stand for nothing less.

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives http://www.fdfi.org/

“What are the barriers you face in joining the fight to end modern-day slavery (36)?”

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014

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