Clinton Global Initiative Takes on Slavery26 Oct 2009, by Uncategorized in
The modern abolitionist movement is still so new in this country. It’s amazing to me that so many people are not yet familiar with the term ‘human trafficking’, and are horrified when you tell them that 27 million people in the world today are literally living as slaves. I’m not passing judgment, since that was my own situation 6 years ago, and despite considerable progress in the movement, the majority of Americans still do not understand the scope of slavery, or even realize that it still exists.
We are going need a critical mass of activists in order for slavery to be eradicated, and despite an increase in press and government action on the issue, we still have a ways to go. Fortunately, last week, we had a breakthrough, when the Clinton Global Initiative highlighted the issue at their annual convention in New York City.
Abolition heroes including survivor-activist Somaly Mam of AFESIP Cambodia (who was 2008 Glamour woman of the year) and Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap, India (former journalist whose organization has helped several thousand women and children in forced prostitution, and has become a prominent voice in women’s rights in India and worldwide) were recognized, and Gupta was awarded the prestigious Clinton Global Citizen Award. Both AFESIP and Apne Aap are core partner organizations of The Emancipation Network, with whom we have worked for the past 4 years on income generation and education programs. I’m so proud of them!
Polaris Project, a leading organization in the United States combating human trafficking and modern day slavery and a TEN partner agency, was also highlighted as an exemplary approach to addressing the global challenge of human trafficking. According to Polaris Director Ambassador Mark Lagon, "As a new initiative, this commitment will focus on increasing public-private partnerships between NGOs, private businesses, and governments in the United States, Japan, and other ‘4D Nations’ – demand-creating, migration, destination, developed democracies. These strategic partnerships and active best-practice sharing will not only directly impact the scope of human trafficking in these countries, but also ultimately serve as models to share with the developing world".
With the power and commitment of CGI, I expect to see some serious progress in our movement in 2010. Ruchira Gupta made a public commitment at the conference to set up 200 new women’s self help groups in red light areas throughout Asia, and to offer income generation and education to all of them.
I am adding my voice to Ruchira’s commitment, and have committed to use TEN’s resources and experience to help with the economic empowerment of these new women’s self help groups.