Over the next few blogs we will be exploring different issues raised by the Women in the World Summit held in March.
What do you think of when you think of girlhood? Maybe you remember playing with friends, going on vacation with your family, or spending time in school. Generally we think of the impressions that we made, the things that we learned from and the memories that shaped us. Though not every aspect of our girlhood was enjoyable, we usually think of times when we were happy.
Now, what do you think of when you think of slavery? Most people will talk about the American Civil war, plantations in the Caribbean or serfdom in Russia – all events that happened in the past.
Would you ever think to associate girlhood and slavery? Probably not – which is what makes modern-day slavery such a pressing issue, according to Luis CdeBaca.
CdeBaca is a United States Ambassador-at-Large whose job is to combat human trafficking around the world, including in his own country. He estimates that 17,500 people brought as slaves to the United States and 70% of them are forced sex workers. Many of those enslaved are children.
These numbers are shocking, as they ought to be, and they point to one of the biggest problems in combating slavery today: most people simply don’t know. This is because those involved in human trafficking work to keep their victims hidden, but also because most people assume that slavery has been eradicated. Without awareness and knowledge, we can’t even begin to tackle this issue.
That’s why it’s so important for governments around the world to acknowledge this problem, and for people all over the globe to work together to end human trafficking. We need to remember that this is not just a problem in poor, third-world countries. The fact that there are slaves in the United States and elsewhere in the so-called ‘developed world’ is shameful. We should all be concerned that every day, women and girls around the world are being deprived of their right to choose their own life path.
- Miriam Musco