We call it by different names – human trafficking, bonded labor, forced labor, sex trafficking – but slavery, the degradation of other human beings, thrives in our lives today. It exists throughout the world, including the United States. We don’t know how many people are trapped, but it is estimated that between 12 and 27 million people are caught in one or another form of slavery – many of whom are women. Between 600,000 and 800,000 are trafficked internationally, with as many as 17,500 people trafficked in the United States.
This human catastrophe disproportionately impacts women and their children. Nearly three out of every four victims are women; half of modern-day slaves are children.
Despite the millions of people trapped, this problem remains an invisible one for most people. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is committed to raising this issue to end it in our lifetime. The problem is huge, but we can take effective action.
• Raise awareness of slavery’s existence in our contemporary lives, by listing products and services created by forced labor in our global economy
• Work to change public policies and create national laws and local statutes that make human trafficking a separate and distinct crime
• Enforce existing national prohibitions against slavery and human trafficking through increased transnational work, data collection and sharing.
The Freedom Center does all of these things. Our unique exhibition, Invisible: Slavery Today is the world’s first museum-quality exhibition on contemporary slavery. It is a highly-interactive, multi-media exhibition that allows participants to experience the lives of those who have suffered as 21st century slaves.
We use the lessons of the Underground Railroad era in antebellum America to remind people that freedom is – and always has been – a struggle that requires constant attention and action.
We create community programs in conjunction with our exhibitions that raise women up. One example was Empowered Mothers, a maternal health fair held earlier this year covering a range of health topics including mammography, diabetes, obstetrics/gynecology, diabetes, heart health, cancer, osteoporosis, fitness and nutrition.
We work with national and international anti-slavery and counter-trafficking organizations on awareness building and advocate for strong federal, state and local laws. In 2009, we helped direct a first-ever survey in Cincinnati on the existence on human trafficking.
We developed a curriculum kit utilized by teachers across the country to educate students between the 7th and 12th grades focusing on modern-day slavery.
Your contribution to the Freedom Center will help us do the work to end modern-day slavery and improve the lives of women and children throughout the world.