“You know that moment when you read something, and then immediately have to re-read it because you cannot believe it is true? That happened to me when I read that the levels of slavery and people trafficking today are greater than at any point in history.” These words by Tony Maddox introduce the CNN Freedom Project, which two weeks ago won an Online Journalism Award (OJW) for its newly launched digital magazine combatting global slavery. CNN received honors in the Best Feature category for it series “Slavery’s Last Stronghold,” which followed the stories of slaves and slave owners in Mauritania, the last country in the world to abolish slavery but where it is thought between 10% and 20% of the population still live in servitude. The United Nations estimates the total market value of human trafficking at 32 billion U.S. dollars.
But slavery isn’t an abstract or far-away issue. California accounts for 25% of human trafficking in the US, with the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco leading the list of slave cities. This November, California Ballot Initiative #35 would strengthen criminal penalties for those who gain from such exploitation. Continue reading “Ending modern day slavery”