The house where President Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation some 150 years ago is confronting the reality that more people are held in modern-day slavery than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
A 2005 United Nations report based on reported cases of forced labor found at least 12 million people worldwide, including people in the U.S., are held in modern slavery and sex trafficking. The U.S. State Department has put the number even higher in its 2011 Trafficking in Persons report, saying as many as 27 million men, women and children are living in such bondage.
In an exhibit titled ‘Can You Walk Away?” opening Friday, President Lincoln’s Cottage in the nation’s capital tells the stories of women working as domestic servants without pay, of women forced to work as prostitutes and of men held in servitude through debt contracts and other coercion. It will remain on view in a small gallery at the site through August 2013.
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