Youth protest against mod­ern-day slav­ery

Jamaica Gleaner - - YL -

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 at­tion. Fol­low them on IG @walk­for­free­dom_k­ingston or on FB at Face­book/walk­for­free­domKingston

A21’s Walk for Free­dom.

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