Not for Sale rallies against human trafficking
By Meaghan Beatley
The Daily Free Press
Human trafficking, an individual’s involuntary servitude through forced labor or sexual enslavement, is in our power to change, speakers said at a rally against human trafficking Sunday night.
Not For Sale, a worldwide campaign focused on re-abolishing slavery, co-hosted the rally as part of its “Backyard Abolitionist Tour.” About 70 attendees gathered in Morse Auditorium to hear President and author of “Not For Sale” David Batstone and various other speakers and musical performers speak about human trafficking and the steps necessary in ending it permanently.
Batstone said eradication of human trafficking relies on individuals’ sense of agency and ability to promote change. Such changes do not need to match the scope of historical abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, champions of black emancipation prior the Civil War; it ought to reflect an individual’s personal ability and desire to remedy a social ill, he said.
“Your goal is not to become Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass,” he said. “It’s to become you.”
Speakers said the pandemic of human trafficking is still dangerously widespread in the world.
Today, 27 million people live in slavery, about 200,000 of those in the United States. Eighty percent of these victims are women; 50 percent are children, with one million of these sexually enslaved, according to the slideshows presented at the event.
Following a slideshow of images featuring children once subjected to the modern-day slave trade, Koch Records recording artist Brant Christopher performed several songs of his own composition accompanied by his guitar.
Christopher said people do not realize their behaviors and routines, such as daily chocolate fixes, contribute to the issue as well.
“Seventy percent of the world’s supply of cocoa beans is located in the Ivory Coast region, particularly in Ghana, and is picked by approximately 12 to 15 thousand child slaves,” he said.
The slave trade generates $32 billion annually, according to slideshows.
Batstone said Not For Sale undertakes various efforts in order to aid adults and children subjected to human trafficking, largely involving the construction of shelters for escapees.
Not For Sale is an organization that seeks to educate the American public on human trafficking by not only promoting awareness, but how individuals unknowingly contribute to its propagation, he said.
“Our mission is to expose the issue,” Batstone said. “We deploy data to bring about change.”
He cited various ways students may partake in the effort, which principally consisted of educating themselves and the public through sites such as slaverymap.org, a compilation of detailed accounts of slavery cases around the world, and free2work.org, a list of fair-trade companies and measures to become fair-trade.
Co-director of the Not for Sale Massachusetts chapter Sarah Durfey said as “politically charged” students, it is within their power to promote change by compelling political figures to act.
BU alumnus John Waldo said the night placed an emphasis on what students can do to address human trafficking rather than single-mindedly focusing on the dreary nature of the issue, which often results in merely “emotionally numbing” audiences instead of empowering them.
“The event presented the issue in a compelling way,” he said.