Slavery! It is abominable, inconceivable, unconscionable and still very much alive! I've never understood it. Yet here it is, the new millennium, and there are more slaves now than in all of history. There is and always has been layers of this abuse. There are many forms of slavery. In this blog post I want to address, not people forced to work for next to nothing, but those who are forced to work for nothing in brutal circumstances.
So why this title?
When I read that they'd found the missing slave ship the Clotilda I was reminded, yet again, of how vulnerable people can be and how sick people can be. I thought of how the Clotilda been right there all along. I'm glad it was found so the relatives of the people who suffered on that ship can find closure.
My hope is that by its being raised from the sea so will awareness be raised that slavery is everywhere. It looks different, but precious lives are still used for others gain or pleasure. I long for a sea of abolitionist to rise up to change this truth.
Have you ever read something and your mouth dropped open because you were speechless? In a New York Times article I read:
"The story of the Clotilda’s final voyage began with an Alabama plantation and steamboat owner, Timothy Meaher. As tensions between North and South approached a breaking point before the Civil War, Mr. Meaher made a wager that he could bring enslaved Africans to the heart of American cotton country despite a federal ban on importation that had been in effect since 1808. The bet grew out of an argument among passengers on one of Mr. Meaher’s steamships over whether transporting enslaved people from Africa to the United States was still possible." (bold my emphasis)
The Clotilda was the last slave ship to reach the United States. The schooner had carried 110 kidnapped Africans to Alabama from what is now the nation of Benin in 1860. According to an article the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC), the ship was burned and scuttled to hide evidence of the slavers' crime.
Precious human lives, their families, their future all changed forever.
For a bet.
An article from VOA News says that after the federal law banning importation of slaves, Timothy Meaher and others like him..."smugglers continued to sail the Atlantic Ocean with wooden ships full of people. Southern plantation owners demanded workers for their cotton fields." Defiant and for financial gain these smugglers sold people for their benefit, they did not value their humanity or their God given right to be free.
Others purchased them for their benefit.
Smugglers sold. Plantations owners bought.
Buyers want. Sellers sell.
WE ARE STILL BUYING AND SELLING HUMANS.
Polaris Projects states, "The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
81% of them are trapped in forced labor.
25% of them are children.
75% are women and girls."
Digging deeper, the International Labour Organization (ILO) says,
"At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.
"It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children." (ILO)
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.8 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
Just as the Clotilda was found so close in the murky waters of a river bayou north of Mobile, so today human trafficking, also know as modern day slavery, can be found all around us everywhere.
"It is all around us, hidden in plain sight. It is walking our streets, supplying shops and supermarkets, working in fields, factories or nail bars, trapped in brothels or cowering behind the curtains in an ordinary street: slavery." Theresa May
Unless "we" choose to do something, there will be no change. Join the 21st Century Abolitionist movement and be part of the change.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriet Tubman (American escaped slave, Civil War Soldier and Abolitionist. 1820-1913
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