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{features} Mapping it out

I’m continuing my series of {features} posts on the Not for Sale campaign today with a look at one of their most innovative and fascinating projects. SlaveryMap is Not for Sale’s mapping feature that gives ordinary people the power to report and research slavery incidents around the world. Here’s the description from the SlaveryMap website:

“Every captive is a person; every survivor has a story. It’s time to show the world that slaves exist among us. Restaurants and fields, construction sites and brothels, suburbs and cities: all are home to victims of trafficking in the United States and abroad. Twenty-seven million slaves in the world, and we want to find them.

SlaveryMap exists to record and display instances of human trafficking across the globe. Whether you find them hidden in your hometown or covered in The New York Times, report the incidents onto this map for people everywhere to see. If you encounter a current situation of bondage, do not enter the information here. Please immediately call the US national trafficking hotline number so that the proper law enforcement and service providers can be alerted: 1-888-3737-888.

All you need to do to get started is create a login account. Join with your friends, your school, your community and Abolitionists throughout the world. Together, we will finally put a face to this epidemic.

Welcome to the movement.”

I had the privilege of attending a breakout session on strategic investigation at the Backyard Academy. The facilitator, Jono, shared with us the concept of SlaveryMap and how you and I can be involved in reporting incidents. The site is monitored to ensure that the identities of victims are not disclosed, and you must request permission to post on the site. Jono explained that most contributors use news reports and other public data to post on the map. I imagine you could post information provided by non profit organizations, but it is important to maintain confidentiality and to protect victims. Jono expressed their desire to protect victims, they request that identifying information not be posted on the map.

I’ve been exploring SlaveryMap for the past couple of days and I have found some fascinating information. Many of the reports on the map have links to the actual news reports and information about the incident, so that has been helpful for me as I’ve done research. I feel like the links also help verify information. Many of us don’t truly believe that slavery exists in our communities. I did a search of a couple communities and turned up some interesting information. First example: Woodstock, Georgia, my hometown. Woodstock is a middle class, fairly affluent community that has traditionally been very safe. Slavery Map has two reported incidents of slavery in Woodstock in the last couple of years. The first incident was a case of domestic servitude, where a Forsyth County police officer enslaved a woman from India in his home. The second was at the La Cabana Restaurant on Main Street, where the owner was apparently smuggling underage girls into the United States and forcing them to pay their ‘debts’ by performing sexual acts. Second example: Sandy Springs, Georgia, my current city of residence. Sandy Springs is also an affluent city just north of Atlanta. One incident of slavery was reported there, from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. A man was arrested for raping and prostituting a 14 year old girl.

SlaveryMap doesn’t have all incidents of slavery that have been reported, and it certainly does not display all the incidents of slavery in the world. Right now there are over 1,600 cases on the map. I reported the statistic that there are 27 million slaves in the world today, here’s another article verifying that number. The Polaris Project has a fact sheet of statistics on human trafficking numbers that list a variety of statistics on Slavery around the world and in the United States. There could be up to 300,000 children prostituted in our country right now. I’ve read some statistics that the State Department estimates that 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year, but I can’t find a verified article with that number, it’s mostly from websites. Regardless, SlaveryMap is seeking to expose these cases for the general population.

Not for Sale is looking for people to contribute to SlaveryMap, and they want people to be aware of what is going on in their community. Check out the SlaveryMap website website to see what is going on in your community. Awareness is the first step for all of us, and it leads to action, which leads to change.

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4 thoughts on “{features} Mapping it out

  1. Pingback: Awareness to Action | The Everyday Activist

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