National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month

Renewed interest on topic after CNN video


Kyle Gehman

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. January 11 was was Human Trafficking Awareness Day and hundreds of people showed their support by tweeting this hashtag.

by Kyle Gehman, Editor-In-Chief

12 Nigerien men are marched out of a house into a courtyard in front of an audience. Soon the proceedings begin. Numbers start to ring out; 400, 500, 550. Finally, after not even a minute, ‘the merchandise’, as called by the men in charge, are sold. Human beings are being sold to other human beings for as low as $400. However, this isn’t out of a textbook about slavery in the 1700’s. This happened a few months ago in Libya.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month, and despite the fact that every day humans have been sold for labour, sex and various other things for years, this year is a bit different. The scenario explained previously was videotaped by CNN when they went undercover to Libya to investigate reports about human trafficking. When the footage was released on November 14, it set off a bombshell. A bombshell of protests, anger around the world and an investigation by Libya supported by the African Union and the United Nations as well as several other intergovernmental agencies. The images seen in the video have sparked a new interest in this worldwide issue.

A report found in 2017 that around 24.9 million men, women and children were trapped in a form of slavery. This number has increased by 4 million people since 2012 according to a similar report. 5.5 million of these people could be high schoolers, as they are 18 and under. Today in a time where women are increasingly speaking out over sexual allegations in the entertainment industry, 4.8 million voiceless people are exploited sexually as slaves. Despite these facts, some feel that the world has been too passive over the issue for too long. One French protester raised the question, “Did we really need to see such shocking pictures before taking a stand?”.

There are several ways to support victims of slavery and human trafficking. One of which is to attend a Human Trafficking Awareness Banquet being held by several IB seniors. They will be announcing the date later but it will be sometime in February. Attendance tickets cost $10 and include a dinner as well as a presentation by a representative from a local organization.