I have stated, as have others, that the eradication of slavery is within our grasp. I truly believe that we are the generation that will end slavery. But, there is a huge step between the concept of ending slavery and the fact of ending slavery.
I first began to focus on the issue of modern slavery in the early 1990s, when I urged the Committee on International Human Rights of the New York City Bar Association to address this issue. Since that time, modern slavery, in all its forms, has emerged from the shadows as an issue of global importance. Further, governments, inter-governmental entities, and civil society have learned not only about the nature and effect of modern slavery, but how to eradicate it. While there is more to learn, we now know enough about the economic, cultural, political and other foundations of the various forms of modern slavery to attack them effectively wherever they exist.
If we are to end slavery, our first step must be to commit to achieving that goal with uncompromising, single minded, devotion. Everyday, we must plan, and work, and fight to end slavery, no matter what the obstacles might be. The 20th century saw several great leaders of people, including Gandhi, King, Mandela. They all had great attributes, but perhaps none greater than their determination to succeed. They worked toward their goals every day. If they were beaten, they got up the next day and continued working. If they were imprisoned, they worked even harder, from within prison and upon their release, to achieve their goals. And they continued, without ceasing, day after year after decade.
We are fighting a crime against all of humanity that has existed for some 4000 years of recorded history. Slavery is perpetuated by criminals who lurk in the shadows and reap hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. In order to defeat these modern slave traders and eradicate all slavery everywhere, we will need to be as tough, resilient, focused and dedicated as we can be, and then more so. Then, we will achieve our goal.
We are the generation that will end slavery.
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