The modern face of slavery abolition in the US is similar to the pioneers of slavery abolition in the mid 19th century. It was almost scandalous then, that numbers of women, like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher-Stowe, and the Grimke sisters, led the fight, by writing and public speaking leading up to the American Civil War.
Today in Massachusetts, many women in law enforcement and social services are on the Federally funded task force crusading against human trafficking, and among them from the non profit organization, Not For Sale, two women, Anita and Sarah, have begun the mapping of instances of sex and labor slavery afflicting the state. They report on evidence of slave laborers bussed into Boston’s China Town to work in restaurants, nail salons and massage parlors. But it can be more subtle than that as international families might bring with them slave housekeepers while studying at ivy league universities. And young girls are captive to pimp predators, and traded in Boston’s hotel rooms.
Anita claims the root cause of slavery is economic. And a simple concern for and awareness of the origins of products we enjoy would change our buying habits and bring some measure of relief to people growing cocoa, coffee, bananas, cotton etc. who might otherwise sell themselves, or their children, into slavery. This dirt poor existence is systemic to modern capitalism, yet Anita explains it is something each of us could influence for change.
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