As the world enters the holiday season I have been doing a lot of thinking about the issue of modern slavery. These things may not seem to go together, but I recently finished the Ending Slavery MOOC and (to complete a class assignment) started trying to complete my holiday shopping with exclusively slave-free products. This is much harder than it sounds! It’s also something that really struck a nerve with me because giving slave-tainted holiday-season gifts or chocolates is just…well…wrong! I don’t care what high holiday you celebrate during the winter solstice – whether Santa visits your house or if the event is entirely religious – giving gifts made from slave labor, CHILD slaves in particular, is counter to the spirit of the season.
The course then introduced the concept of a slave free city. The idea is simply this: develop the support, networking, community organizations and whatever other resources are necessary to completely eliminate slavery from a single city. This isn’t a long-distant effort to assist people in other countries, this is a targeted program designed to eliminate slavery and human trafficking, in all of its forms, from your own home town.
There’s even an entire conference devoted to the topic (and I really really really want to go!): Slave Free City Summit (SFCSummit)
How and why have I never heard of this before? Sadly, the answer to my question is this: it’s a new concept, still being developed and tested. But I am convinced that it both can and MUST work. This effort intersects with the efforts of people fighting homelessness, poverty, and social justice issues of all kinds. Achieving this goal will have a universally positive impact on the entire community (city). This is something worth supporting 100% – and then some!
More information about Slave Free Cities: