Last month, the U.S. State Department released its newest Trafficking in Persons Report, which evaluates countries based on their record in complying with international anti-trafficking conventions. The Guardian released an interactive map to help visualize the report’s major findings, while the CNN Freedom Project called on the United States to practice what it preaches in the report.
As reported in our last ATW update, the International Labor Organization also adopted a new protocol to eliminate contemporary forms of slavery.
The Guardian recently asked whether statues to British slavers should be taken down. Meanwhile, in Boston, artist Matthew Hincman repurposed an old lamppost into a monument that raises questions about the presence of the past in the present. Kara Walker’s sugar sphinx in New York continued to attract commentary about the way that past forms of slavery are remembered today.
Several recent articles placed a spotlight on the use of prison labor in the supply chains of artisanal food products, including milk at Whole Foods. A new report also identified prawns sold in American grocery stores as the products of slave labor.
The playing of the World Cup has placed a renewed spotlight on contemporary slavery; history doctoral student Sonja Dolinsek urged readers in an opinion piece not to miss the opportunity to see the World Cup from a social and human rights perspective. A group of historians, including Harvard’s Walter Johnson, also recently gathered at the National Humanities Center to discuss the meaning of “dehumanization,” “dishumanization,” and “demonization” and their relation both to slavery and to human rights. Antonio Ginatta urged believers in human rights to change who gets locked up at home.
Our readers will also be glad to learn of several academic developments and announcements related to our mission as Historians Against Slavery. The Schomburg Center is creating a new center to study the slave trade. A conference to be held at the University of London this week will consider Nontraditional Slaveholding in the Atlantic World.
Finally, two items remind us of one of our central missions as HAS, exemplified by The Free Project and other initiatives, which is to organize and inform students on the subject of slavery, past and present. A recent student essay on the use of slave labor in Nazi Germany, and a symposium of Students Opposing Slavery held at President Lincoln’s Cottage, suggest that our students are ready and able to take up the task. And as teachers and advisors, we can help by pointing them—and ourselves—to great new resources such as End Slavery Now, a project of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Can’t wait until next month to be caught up on the latest antislavery news from around the web? Please note that Historians Against Slavery now maintains a frequently updated Pinboard page full of links to inform and inspire.