Students Opposing Slavery Resources

Students Opposing Slavery (SOS) is an award-winning youth education program for students dedicated to continuing Lincoln’s fight for freedom by raising awareness about modern slavery within a high-risk population – teenagers. Learn more about Students Opposing Slavery.

Slavery Then and Now

Students Opposing Slavery is a program of President Lincoln’s Cottage, which invites modern-day young abolitionists to continue Lincoln’s unfinished work against slavery. Explore the sections of the timeline to see side-by-side connections between historical chattel slavery and contemporary human trafficking issues, and explore continuity and change in the field. This interactive timeline was created by Kyra Joostema, a 2022 Students Opposing Slavery participant.

Places to Start

Please note: these hyperlinks will take you away from

You’re Pretty—You Could Make Some Money

About the sex trafficking of underage girls through online mediums.
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Forced labor in America

About labor trafficking. While sex trafficking is usually the only thing shown in the media, labor trafficking actually makes up of much more human trafficking than sex trafficking does, and it is important to learn about both to get a better understanding of the issue as a whole.
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Summary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and Reauthorizations FY 2017

A text explaining the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (created in 2000) and the changes that each of the Reauthorizations of the act changed. While this one is different from the other two, in that it is about a law, it is important to learn about the legislation currently in place around human trafficking, and this website sums up the hundreds of pages of the laws in about 1500 words.
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“13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” U.S. National Archives

31 Jan. 1865.
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Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000

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Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003

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Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005

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William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008

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Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013

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Prosecuting Human Traffickers

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Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States

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Abhishek Basu. “Schoolboy in Lincoln footsteps”

The Telegraph. 20 July 2014
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Marisa M. Kashino. “‘You’re Pretty – You Could Make Some Money’”

Washingtonian Magazine. June 2013
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U.S. Department of Education. “Human Trafficking in America’s Schools”

Jan. 2015
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The White House. “Presidential Proclamation – National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” The White House Office of the Press Secretary.

31 Dec. 2013. A presidential proclamation made by Barack Obama at the end of 2013. He made an additional one every year of his second term of presidency, and they are all searchable on the linked website.
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Trafficked: Three survivors of human trafficking share their stories

Short versions of the stories of three survivors of sex trafficking. At the bottom of each of the snippets, there is a link to a continuation of their stories: a transcript of the interview with the first, and the full articles about the other two.
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Forced labor in America: Thousands of workers are being held against their will

About labor trafficking, which is important to learn about since the media usually focuses on sex trafficking, and forgets about labor trafficking, even though the majority of human trafficking is labor trafficking.
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Beyond Brothels: Farms And Fisheries Are Frontier Of Human Trafficking

Labor trafficking, focusing on agriculture, where labor trafficking occurs most commonly.
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Why Labor Trafficking is So Hard to Track

About labor trafficking and explains well why it isn’t shown more in the media.
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How Does Labor Trafficking Occur in U.S. Communities and What Becomes of the Victims?

About a study, which hoped to gather information about the experience of survivors of labor trafficking, how labor trafficking groups are organized, who the traffickers are and what connections the organizations have, and the challenges of law enforcement with combating labor trafficking.
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Child Labor, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

A government source about child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking (as can be seen from the title), and what the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT) is doing to combat these things.
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Human trafficking and labor exploitation: Toward identifying, implementing, and evaluating effective responses

Written by people in the medical field, about response to human trafficking and labor exploitation in relation to physical and mental health consequences.
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Summary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and Reauthorizations FY 2017

Explains what the Trafficking Victims Protection Act does, and explains the changes that the TVPA Reauthorization Acts of 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013 made to the original act.
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Interviewing victims of human trafficking: Survivors offer advice

Includes quotes from human trafficking survivors about how to interview them, selected by a survivor of human trafficking who wrote the book Walking Prey about many survivors’ experiences with human trafficking.
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‘They Could Kill You, And No One Would Ever Know’: Interview With A Trafficking Victim

Audio transcript of an interview with a survivor of human trafficking.
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How to Talk About Human Trafficking with Children and Adolescents

Information and some statistics about human trafficking and how to convey it to young people. It has sections broken up by age groups to show how to convey this information to children as young as 2, older children, and adolescents.
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An Interview About Surviving Human Trafficking: Margeaux Gray

A well-formatted interview with a survivor of sex trafficking.
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From the Voices of Domestic Sex Trafficking Survivors: Experiences of Complex Trauma & Posttraumatic Growth

Human sex trafficking is an ongoing global rights violation formally recognized since 2000 through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, 2016). Using ecological and trauma-informed lenses, this qualitative, retrospective study used participant-centered methods to explore identity, sexuality, relationships, and factors that facilitate/ hindered community reintegration for 15 adult female survivors.
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Detection of Domestic Human Trafficking Indicators and Movement Trends Using Content Available on Open Internet Sources

This study applies network analysis to domestic human trafficking activity in online environments to identify trafficking circuits.
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Offline Resources

Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds her Calling and Heals Herself

By Rachel Lloyd. In “Girls Like Us,” Lloyd reveals the dark world of commercial sex trafficking in cinematic detail and tells the story of her groundbreaking nonprofit organization: GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. With great humanity, she shares the stories of the girls whose lives GEMS has helped—small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.

Walking Prey: How America’s Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery

By Holly Austin Smith. In “Walking Prey,” advocate and former victim Holly Austin Smith shows how middle class suburban communities are fast becoming the new epicenter of sex trafficking in America. Smith speaks from experience: Without consistent positive guidance or engagement, Holly was ripe for exploitation at age fourteen. A chance encounter with an older man led her to run away from home, and she soon found herself on the streets of Atlantic City. Her experience led her, two decades later, to become one of the foremost advocates for trafficking victims.

Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor

By Katariina Rosenblatt. “Stolen” is the true story of one survivor who escaped–more than once. First recruited while staying with her family at a hotel in Miami Beach, Katariina Rosenblatt was already a lonely and abused young girl who was yearning to be loved. She fell into the hands of a confident young woman who pretended friendship but slowly lured her into a child prostitution ring. For years afterward, a cycle of false friendship, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.

Survivors of Slavery: Book of Narratives

By Laura Murphy.  Slavery is not a crime confined to the far reaches of history. It is an injustice that continues to entrap twenty-seven million people across the globe. Laura Murphy offers close to forty survivor narratives from Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States, detailing the horrors of a system that forces people to work without pay and against their will, under the threat of violence, with little or no means of escape.

Trafficked: My Story of Surviving, Escaping, and Transcending Abduction into Prostitution

By Sophie Hayes. The haunting, unforgettable memoir that took the UK by storm, Trafficked is a gripping first-hand account of a young woman who survived the horrors of human trafficking.  Sophie Hayes, a young, educated English woman, was spending an idyllic weekend in Italy with her seemingly charming boyfriend. But the day of her return home, he made it clear she wasn’t going anywhere. Punching and shouting at her, he threatened to kill her adored younger brothers if she didn’t cooperate to help him pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars he’d racked up in debts.

The Slave Across the Street

By Theresa Flores. In this powerful true story, Theresa Flores shares how her life as an all-American, 15-years-old teenager was enslaved into the dangerous world of sex trafficking-all while living at home with unsuspecting parents in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit. Her story peels the cover off of this horrific criminal activity and gives dedicated activists as well as casual bystanders a glimpse into the underbelly of human trafficking.

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time

By Carissa Phelps. Carissa Phelps was a runner. By the time she was twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp. Even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse. But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Through small miracles, Carissa accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She left the streets behind, yet found herself back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth discover their own paths to a better life.

Slave: My True Story

By Mende Nazer. Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende. Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her “Yebit,” or “black slave.” She called them “master.” She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.


Interested in learning more about SOS? Contact the Education Department at President Lincoln’s Cottage at [email protected] or call 202-829-0436 x223.


To donate to the SOS program, go to our “Donate” page and write “Students Opposing Slavery” in the Special Instructions box. Thank you for your generous support of this program, as we continue Lincoln’s fight for freedom.