Some interesting and inspiring stories came out in the news this week:
This is a beautiful story about a Brazilian anti-slavery program which places formerly enslaved laborers into legitimate jobs—while providing education so they can have marketable skills. One of the stadiums to be used for the world cup in 2014 is being built by 25 workers in this program:
More than 2,600 people were “rescued” from slave labor in 2010, the labor ministry says. Brazil’s government has made the problem a top priority over the past decade, and expanded the definition of slavery in 2003 to include both forced labor and degrading working conditions – a broader definition than many countries, says the International Labor Organization.
Government programs such as the one that placed the workers at the Cuiaba stadium, which included six months of on-site training, are critical to ensuring that slavery ultimately disappears for good in Brazil, says Valdiney Arruda, the superintendent at the labor ministry in Mato Grosso state.
“The biggest challenge is often to prove to these people that they are capable” of working dignified jobs, Arruda said. “How do you leave behind a whole lifetime in just six months? … It’s not easy, but they’re doing it.”
On February 17 (last Friday), Lincoln’s Cottage opened an exhibition on modern-day slavery. The show, titled Can You Walk Away? is produced in partnership with Polaris Project, and features filmed interviews with slavery survivors, and offers educational resources. The Lincoln Cottage shop is also now selling Fair Trade products. The show was conceived as a way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which legally ended slavery in the U.S.The exhibition is on view until August 2013.
Free the Slaves works with Polaris Project through the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking—a group made up of U.S.-based anti-slavery nonprofits. We also collaborate with Polaris Project through mtvU’s “Against Our Will” campaign, which raises awareness about modern-slavery.