Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of posts from Jabesso “Jay” Yadeto discussing and reflecting on his internship at President Lincoln’s Cottage. You can read his first post and second post.
Modern slavery has been on my mind in the last few weeks. Being exposed to the reality of labor trafficking and sex trafficking is a realization that can dramatically change your outlook on life. Regardless of how grand or how minuscule that change may be, one is sobered by the eye-opening discovery. Recently, I was tasked with informing two peers or relatives on the issue of modern slavery and how the human trafficking industry affects us all. The reactions to such news was a curve ball to my mother and sister, both being the two that I informed on the issue. My mother who is an Ethiopian immigrant was appalled to learn that the concept of slavery was still prevalent, not only in poverty-stricken countries such as her homeland but in the United States as well.
Coming from a developing country plagued with kidnappings, murders, and poverty my mother is a grateful citizen of the United States and is appreciative of all the freedoms that it allows her. When telling her about my findings based on the Slavery Footprint Survey, she was thoroughly disturbed and troubled. She also was troubled that in our nation (debatably the most influential on the globe) we do very little to stop such atrocities.
One of my friends who is a college student and social activist (who happens to be a friend of my older sister) was thoroughly impressed with my findings yet equally appalled and outraged at the information shared. She shared with me a thought, and to paraphrase it went something like “It always is sad to see someone who is doing worse than you. It’s even worse to think that you can’t do anything about it. That you possess very little power to invoke change”.
However I shared that with our choices we can help keep this issue prevalent and help cease this unjust practice by sharing our knowledge with our community. In order to help stop this epidemic of human trafficking we can all help by sharing the knowledge we have on the issue and if we lack such knowledge the best thing to do is to inform ourselves, because as the old adage goes “Knowledge is Power” and such power possess enough strength to end such a travesty. It seems that regardless of background, race, gender or ideology we all can come together to spread awareness on the issue of human trafficking.