The holidays are noted for being stressful, so what better time to take a moment, greet perspective, and reflect on how wonderful it is to possess our own free will? Currently, 27 million people are enslaved across the world. Sadly, that’s actually more than at any previous point in history. But there is something you can do to help. Free the Slaves is a fantastic non-profit working to, yes, free slaves in a sustainable way. And there’s a stunning book you can buy to help them do so.
Lisa Kristine is a photographer who spent the last two years traveling around the world documenting enslaved people. Together with Free the Slaves, she has released Slavery, a book “about the human spirit and the dignity that lives in each of us, regardless of circumstances.” Kristine, who donated her talents, intends for the book to be a wake-up call for human trafficking.
Slavery, particularly for Americans, often brings to mind the antebellum South, when hoopskirts and contorted logic enabled slavery to exist in this country. But there are more human slaves on the planet today that ever before in modern history – and this includes the time going back to Columbus. And worse, (yes, it gets worse,) the average cost of a slave is roughly $90. This means the life of a slave is considered virtually “worthless,” leaving injured or troublesome slaves at the mercy of owners who easily dump and kill them. These are men, women, and children, kidnapped into bondage of all natures.
Why is this happening? In part, it is because the population explosion is currently wrecking havoc across the world. Rapid social and economic growth has displaced many people, leaving them without a safety net. And while slavery is illegal everywhere, certain government ripe in corruption have done little to curb its growth within their borders.
But this doesn’t include the United States, right? Sadly, there are at least 14,000 slaves trafficked into the United States every year. They work in fields, brothels, restaurants, homes and more. As Safe HS reports, the CIA “estimates 50,000 women and children are transported each year throughout the United States by being conned and forced into a life of sexual exploitation.” Further, the average age of a child prostitute is 13-years-old.
Lisa Kristine’s Slavery, along with Free the Slaves, aims to spread awareness of these atrocities by providing a forum for awareness and fund raising. According to the non-profit, it costs just $18 to free a salve and enable them to continue down a new road in life. The book, which is available here for $98, donates 100 percent of its proceeds to ending slavery. Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote the forward to a compilation of extremely moving and compelling photography.
Here’s how you can learn more.
Photos courtesy of Lisa Kristine and Free the Slaves