The New Abolitionists

After listening to the radio program To The Best of Our Knowledge recently, I feel compelled to spread the word about that particular episode.

That program was called "The New Abolitionists" and it is about the slave trade that still exists today. I was shocked (naively, I suppose) to find out that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history. The estimate is that the number is 27 million people.

Is this something that is taught in schools? Particularly in the context of globalization and flattening the world of our students, this seems to me to be a topic that not only needs to be discussed, but has real power.

The show has a number of segments and voices that you might be able to use either as "research" or play in the classroom.

  • A woman who tells about her five years as a slave and the 23 years she spent in prison for a murder she didn't commit.
  • There's an interview with author Benjamin Skinnner about his book A Crime So Monstrous which tells about the global traffic in human beings as he goes through the process of buying a slave. He infiltrated slave markets on five continents.
  • Adam Hochschild, who wrote Bury the Chains, talks about the anti-slavery movement in Britain two hundred years ago.
  • Katrina Browne, who produced and directed the documentary Traces of the Trade in an effort to come to terms with her family's legacy of slave trading. Traces of the Trade will kick off the 2008 season of P.O.V. on PBS on June 24. Check local listings. Set the TiVo.
  • and finally, Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a economist and founded the micro-credit movement and India's Grameen Bank. Yunus calls it"social business" in his book Creating a World Without Poverty.

Two websites where you can gain a greater understanding of these issues are Traces of the Trade, Free the Slaves.

You can listen online to that episode and subscribe to the podcast version of the show. I highly recommend the show archives which have a wide variety of topics.

A version of this was first posted by me on Escaped Thoughts


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