A couple of hundred years ago a few young men sat around a table and decided to expose the buying and selling of people for was it was: a horrific crime against humanity driven by a narrative of superiority, security, and greed...the "we versus them" mentality that still plagues our world today. I once heard it said that the equivalent would be a few people today discussing over coffee how to dismantle the modern automotive industry. Slavery was not only tolerated, but accepted and driven by every major political, social, and religious power of their day. A true David and Goliath story. William Wilberforce and others would, through much persecution and perseverance, see slavery “legally” abolished only 20 years later.
Just because something is illegal does not make it cease to exist. Human trafficking is the third most profitable and prevalent global crime network next the arms trade and drugs. Human beings have been reduced to commodities, bought and sold to service the demands of global consumers (us)…from the sugar we drink in our coffee to the shirt on our back to the steel in our cars (steel comes from coal which is harvested by slaves in Brazil which comes from burning trees furthering the horrific degradation of our environment).
The root causes behind slavery are vast and complicated, but most of them can be traced back to poverty; meaning the lack of resources to provide for a sustainable and purposeful life including education, health care, employment, access to credit, infrastructure, etc. But poverty does not make someone a slave, violence does. And it’s not like people just enslave other people because they like to be mean, they do it because it’s profitable.
For too long economic growth and prosperity has been an end to which we in the West have pursued blindly and stupidly; rarely did we challenge or even consider the means by which we continue to obtain such an end. Environmental sustainability and social equity have been afterthoughts at best; a small price to pay for a life of affluence and security. We at three:twelve believe a different way is possible. We believe sustainability and social equity can bring new life to our beautiful planet and hope to our fellow humans who have suffered in the wake of our apathy.
In the heart of Margaret Mead who said "a small group of committed people can change the world, in fact, it is the only thing that has," let us continue the courageous fight against slavery our abolitionist fathers started, let our generation be the first in human history to be truly free...we have 27 million of our fellow humans counting on us.