Youth protest against modern-day slavery
SCORES OF young people took to the streets of Kingston recently to protest against modern-day slavery in Jamaica and across the world. ‘Abolish Slavery With Each Step’ was the slogan of the first annual Walk for Freedom, with protesters doing a silent march from Hope Gardens to St. Andrew High School for Girls. The march attracted representatives from groups such as the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons, the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, the Love March Movement and God Centered.
The Kingston march was a part of other marches on the same day, organised by A21 in cities across the world. A21 Campaign is an international organisation that works to fight human trafficking, including sexual exploitation and trafficking, forced slave labour, bonded labour, involuntary domestic servitude, and child soldiery. Its name refers to abolitionists in the 21st century, as the members of the movement see themselves as the new wave of abolitionists, walking in the footsteps of men such as William Wilberforce who worked to abolish the slave trade in the 1800s.
Jamaican abolitionists took to the streets of Kingston wearing ‘Abolish Slavery’ shirts along with the names of three survivors who have been rescued and rehabilitated through A21. These three survivors were the focus of this year’s walk, representing the Americas, Europe and Asia. Protesters initially walked with the names across their mouths, while handing out pamphlets from the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons. At the end of the march, protesters flipped their bandanas over to the word ‘FREE’ and wore it as headbands to symbolize the freedom of not only these three survivors, but the desired freedom of others who are now trapped in modern-day slavery. Protesters were shown a docu-film titled Traffick
Blocking, produced by the Love March Movement, and edited and directed by Boncreck Films. Traffick
Blocking provides cutting-edge statistics and tactics used in human trafficking in Jamaica, by simulating real-life scenarios and interviews with specialists in the field. They also listened to presentations by the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons.
Local organiser Ms Stacy-Ann Smith pointed out that every 30 seconds someone becomes a slave somewhere in the world, and through the support of A21, she hopes to develop an A-team in Jamaica which will go into schools with a programme to educate young people, so they can identify and avoid human trafficking. Persons can be part of this team by registering at
a21.org/action. Follow them on IG @walkforfreedom_kingston or on FB at Facebook/walkforfreedomKingston
A21’s Walk for Freedom.