Do You Know How Many Slaves Work for You?March 26, 2012
Nearly 140 countries have enacted modern human-trafficking laws, and nearly 150 are party to the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons. This issue is of particular importance to AAUW. During the One Member, One Vote election at the 2011 National Convention, members voted to make combatting human trafficking one of AAUW’s Public Policy Priorities, declaring that “AAUW believes that global interdependence requires national and international policies against human trafficking and that promote peace, justice, human rights, sustainable development, and mutual security for all people.”
AAUW applauds the mission of the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The task force was established in 2000 to coordinate federal efforts to combat human trafficking, which continues to inflict misery on as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world — even in America. During the recent annual meeting of the task force, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the launch of a new online tool, Slavery Footprint, to help people understand the ways in which human trafficking affects them personally. As Clinton said, trafficking “doesn’t just happen to somebody far away, it has ripples of criminality that come across the globe.”
An inconvenient fact about our convenient lifestyle in the United States is that our luxuries are often the products of the international slave trade. For example, items in your home containing acrylic, cashmere, silicon, cotton, gold, and graphite — which could be found in your (and my) wardrobe — along with cell phones, cosmetics, and gadgets may be products made by slave labor. Take a minute to use the online tool to see your “slavery footprint,” and you will see how prevalent human trafficking is to most Americans’ everyday lives.
AAUW looks forward to working with Clinton and others to stem the rising tide of human trafficking. All people deserve to live in safety and dignity.