Get your red markers ready. This Thursday is Shine a Light on Slavery Day! On February 27th, you can become a part of the international movement to end slavery by signaling to the world that you won’t stand for it.

End it logoHere’s how you can take action to stand for freedom for the millions who are enslaved today. Draw a red X on your right hand and join anti-slavery partners like Free the Slaves who are part of the #enditmovement campaign. Then, make freedom go viral: post a photo of your hand marked with a red X on social media.

Visit the End It website to donate to FTS, to buy clothing to promote the cause, or to download the free End It tool kit to communicate to the world that slavery still exists and that you will be the one to help stop it.

Start using your influence and voice to raise awareness now. Recruit your friends today by sharing this video—you have the power to make this year’s End It campaign a success.

Are you ready to shine a light on slavery? Let’s be the generation that ends slavery together.

It takes a special kind of person to fight for freedom and justice in dangerous hot spots where slavery still thrives. It takes a resilient and resourceful spirit to assist impoverished and marginalized people in their struggle to break free.

But that’s the job description for the staffers who direct Free the Slaves programs around the globe — sweat, grit, guts, smarts, vision, passion and compassion.

You can now see FTS country directors talking candidly about their work in three recently-released videos: What Does Slavery Look Like Today, Passion for Freedom, and Overcoming Slavery. These videos provide an in-depth look at the scope of modern-day slavery. The films feature FTS country directors sharing personal insights on how one of history’s greatest human rights abuses can be brought to an end.

“I free slaves,” says FTS South Asia Director Supriya Awasthi in one video, “I think it was a calling. I always wanted to do work where I could tangibly see change, and what has touched me the most was to see change in human lives when it was needed.”

As FTS Congo Director Jack Kohorha explains: “It is good to tell stories, but it also important to act. At Free the Slaves, it is not only a matter of reporting, we do the research and then we use the research to see how the communities can come out of slavery themselves.”

The videos illustrate the brutality of bondage and showcase the joy of freedom.

These videos are available on YouTube and Vimeo for anyone to play at awareness-raising events on campus, at work, with friends or relatives or fellow members of your faith community.  Click here to find out more about how you can join the fight by hosting a FTS house party.

As FTS Ghana Director Joha Braimah tells us, “I believe that slavery can end in our lifetime if we put our minds to it and commit to this cause.”

lincoln_abrahamI’m pretty sure that Abraham Lincoln would want you to throw a party this month. Honest.

Not to commemorate his birthday, February 12th, but to help finish the job he is most famous for starting: freeing the slaves.

That’s why I’m writing today. I hope that you will consider making a gift or becoming a monthly supporter of Free the Slaves.

The Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in America during Lincoln’s time. But they didn’t end it. There are an estimated 60,000 people in slavery inside the U.S. today, part of the 21-30 million enslaved worldwide.

Here’s how you can help honor Lincoln’s legacy: throw a Free the Slaves house party to raise awareness and funds. Our downloadable House Party Guide makes it easy. Invite friends, family, neighbors, classmates and coworkers.

Help them understand that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that businesses won’t profit from slavery, that governments won’t allow it, that international organizations won’t ignore it, and that we all — as human beings — won’t tolerate it any longer.

You can play our newest video at your house party. It’s called Overcoming Slavery. In just two minutes, Free the Slaves frontline activists explain our strategy to rid the world of human trafficking forever.

I hope that you will help us finish what President Lincoln started more than a century ago. Your participation and contributions will be what brings slavery to an end. We can’t do it without you.

Thanks.

8 Things You Can Do to End Slavery

Readers of the FTS blog already know that 21-30 million people are enslaved worldwide today. But what can you do to end it? The new Free the Slaves Take Action Card includes easy and quick steps to create the social change that will help end slavery. From 10 seconds to 10 days, here are things you can do:

Click to download our Take Action guide

Click to download our Take Action guide

10 Seconds:

10 Minutes:

10 Hours:

10 Days:

  • Host an event to raise funds and awareness. Download our free guide to hosting a fundraising event here.

Download and print these tips. Share them at your school, workplace, faith community, neighborhood, or even at your metro bus stop!

Visit Free the Slaves  for videos, links, fact sheets, and resources on how you can get involved in ending slavery. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the know. And visit Know the Chain to help keep slavery-tainted goods out of your shopping cart.

We can end slavery if we all work together.

 

Robin in Ghana

Robin filming child fishing slavery rescue in Ghana | Photo: FTS/Callahan

One of the founding principles of Free the Slaves is that we must show the world that slavery still exists. That has meant traveling to distant and dangerous places to film the brutality of slavery today, as well as to showcase innovative ways to end it.

Over the years, FTS has been fortunate to work with one of the world’s best photographers, Robin Romano.

Whether it was hundreds of feet below ground inside illegal gold mines, or hundreds of miles upcountry at fishing camps or in rebel conflict zones, Robin did what it took to present visual proof of slavery’s reality to the world.

Robin died late last year, and fellow activists in the Child Labor Coalition are gathering over the next few days in New York and Washington, D.C. to celebrate the life of an exemplary activist, gadfly, award-winning human rights photographer and filmmaker, artist and friend.

  • New York: Saturday, February 8th at 1 p.m., St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, 131 East 10th Street.
  • Washington: Thursday, February 13th at 4:30 p.m. at the National Education Association, 1201 16th Street, NW. Register here.

You can see some of Robin’s amazing FTS work about rehabilitating child soldier slaves in Uganda and the rescue of child fishing slaves in Ghana on the FTS Vimeo page. His own website is here.

The Free the Slaves staff will miss Robin, and our thoughts are with his family. Others who have worked with him will miss Robin, too:

“You were far more than just a photographer/videographer, but I want to say just a word about that aspect of your amazing life. I have thousands of your photos in boxes at home, the remnants of many projects we worked on together. I have looked again at many of these photos since you died, and recall vividly how you had an amazing knack for seeing in your subjects, mostly children, the spark of dignity and humanity that had often been almost crushed by their life circumstances. And you had an uncanny ability to encourage these subjects to show that spark.” –Pharis Harvey on Media Voices for Children blog.

“Robin was always covered in cameras. He was a one man show. He shot stills, video, took sound, did interviews. He filled every vacuum. He didn’t know how to delegate. He hated sharing. He wanted everything perfect and was willing to pay the price of doing it all himself. The price was physical exhaustion, illness, a candle burning at both ends. He was one of the finest natural light videographers I have known in forty years as a director-editor. And still his photographs are among the best the world has ever seen. This was the Robin I knew, working to take the perfect picture that would tell the story of a child’s life, and of our world’s indifference in one frozen second.” –Len Morris on Media Voices for Children blog.

A child is rescued by Brazil’s elite anti-slavery police | FTS Photo/Romano