The Abolitionist Pledge

 

Overview

The four steps of the Abolitionist Pledge are a way for anyone to immediately support the cause of eradicating slavery. The four steps are straight-forward, easy to accomplish, and can all be completed in 10 minutes. By collectively engaging in the four steps that culminate in the Abolitionist Pledge, we can be the generation that ends slavery.

The four steps are:

  1. Reach out to any elected official at any level of government and ask the question:  “What are you doing to ensure the eradication of slavery and the effects of slavery ?”

  2. Reach out to any store or business selling any product and ask the question:  “Can you assure me that there is no slavery, and are no slave-made goods or products, anywhere in your supply chains?”

  3. Make a “Birthday Gift to Humanity” in the amount of your age on your last birthday by making a donation to any entity that has the goal of eradicating slavery as all or part of its mission.

  4. Show that you have completed, or are working to complete, steps 1, 2, and 3, by making a public statement, on social media or otherwise, that “ My name is ________ and I am an abolitionist.”

 

 

The Full Analysis

The four steps of the Abolitionist Pledge provide a way for anyone to have an immediate positive effect on the anti-slavery movement. Each of the four steps is intended to impact on a separate, but equally important, aspect of the abolitionist movement.

Step One: Engaging Government

Every level of government, from the Federal government to the local board of education, should be working to eradicate slavery. I encourage you to contact an elected official at any level of government that you wish. Of course, you may wish to contact more than one elected official.

Governments and slavery intersect at several levels. First, governments with broader duties, such as the Federal and state governments, pass laws that are may directly affect anti-slavery efforts. Such laws might concern the importation of slave-made goods, penal laws concerning trafficking, support for victims of slavery, and the funding of law enforcement. Have all such laws been enacted?

At the county and local level, governments might also be concerned with the training of judges, prosecutors, and police to identify and address human trafficking. In addition, local governments provide remedies and support for the victims.  A local board of education should be concerned with ensuring that the curriculum effectively teaches about the nature and scope of modern slavery and that the students are armed with the knowledge that will prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking themselves.

In addition to their governmental role, all governments are consumers of goods. The U.S. Federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. Governments buy electronic devices. They should ensure that the gold and other metals used therein are slave-free. Similarly, the supply chains for food in the school cafeteria, uniforms, tee shirts, and everything else that a government buys should be examined and controlled to be certain that these supply chains are slave-free.

The question in step one brings forward all these aspects of governmental activity so that they may be reviewed and addressed.

 

Step Two: Engaging Businesses

Slave-made goods and products exist in international chains of commerce. There are reports of slave-mined gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum finding their way into electronic goods. Slave-made rugs, clothes, and other textiles are a concern. Slave-harvested seafood, cocoa, and other foods are likewise a concern. The way to eradicate this type of slavery is to have confirmed slave-free supply chains at every level from the field, or mine, or factory to the shelf in the store. The inquiry in step 2 is the beginning of a dialogue designed to reach this goal.

 

Step Three: Developing Funding

The slave trade is a huge economic enterprise that is estimated to generate $150 Billion in illegal profits every year. On the flip side, the groups and organizations around the world that are fighting have only a tiny sliver of this amount to work with. More money is needed. Step Three is a first step in raising these funds.

There are many groups that focus solely on addressing some aspect of modern slavery. Other groups address modern slavery within the context of broader missions. Whatever your focus or philosophy, there is some group somewhere that needs and deserves your support. Find that group and make your own Birthday Gift to Humanity in the amount of your age as of your last birthday. Of course, feel free to give more money and to more groups. But, please, make that one gift now so that we are better able to end slavery in our generation.

 

Step Four: The Abolitionist Pledge

We are not alone in this effort. And by making the public pledge “My name is ____________ and I am an abolitionist”, we are announcing to the world that we are committed to this cause and inviting others to join with us. It is through collective action that, at long last, slavery will be eradicated. We are the generation that will end slavery.