Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ending Slavery with Books

To really combat human slavery, we need to first understand where it occurs and why it occurs. Knowledge is the first step and sharing that knowledge is the second step. Here are some simple things you can do to better understand modern slavery and help fight it with books.

STEP 1: Check Your Local Library Selection
One of the first things I noticed as I started researching modern slavery was the lack of books at my local library. Our city library, which is average size, only had 3 adult non-fiction books, 1 photo book and 1 adolescent book regarding human trafficking and modern slavery. It was the same story (pun intended) with neighboring cities.

STEP 2: Make a list of Books
Create a list of books you would like to see at your local library. I've put together a suggested reading list at the bottom of this post. Feel free to use this as a reference to build your own list.

STEP 3: Request Books
Almost all libraries allow their patrons to submit book requests for the library to purchase. Here's an example from my local library. (If you live in Orem, UT feel free to help me out by requesting books as well.) Typically you'll need to enter your library card #, information for the book(s), and this is key, an explanation of why you think the library should buy these books.

STEP 4: Get Your Friends & Family Involved
Now that you've submitted book requests, ask your family and friends to do the same. If libraries get bombarded with different requests from their patrons, they will be sure to order the books.

STEP 5: Donate Books
If all else fails, or if it's just easier for you time-wise, you can always purchase books and donate them to your library. No library will turn down donated books if they are new or in good working condition.

STEP 6: Book Clubs
Book clubs are a great way to introduce the issue of modern slavery to your friends. If you're in a book club, suggest one of the readings below. If you're not, you can always start one.

Most libraries will have groups of books available specifically for book club checkouts. When you suggest books, you can also suggest 1 or 2 that you think would be valuable for libraries to add to their book club lists. If I had to choose two book club books, they would be "The Road of Lost Innocence," by Somaly Mam and "Ending Slavery," by Kevin Bales.

1. You've just created awareness of modern slavery for the librarians, your friends and your family.
2. You've helped provide books for you, your neighbors, students and book clubs to learn more about the issues and get educated.
3. You've helped buy books, which in turn helps fund authors, which in turn helps raise money for many anti-slavery charities.

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves by Kevin Bales
Free the Children by Craig Kielburger (An amazing story about how a 12-year old took on the fight against slavery)
Slave Hunter by Aaron Cohen and Christine Buckley
Not For Sale by David B. Bastone
Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People by Zoe Trodd, Kevin Bales, Alex Kent Williamson
The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales
Disposable People by Kevin Bales
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara
Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery by Sage Jesse, Liora Kasten and Gloria Steinem
War Child by Emmanual Jal
A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face With Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner


  1. Is your suggested reading list in any particular order?

  2. This is a book that will be at most libraries by now but it seems like it should also be on your list for those searching for books on the topic. Half The Sky contains a section of human trafficking but does not fully focus on the topic as it also covers other topics that lead to the oppression of women throughout the world.

  3. I noticed "Selling Olga: Stories of Human Trafficking" by Louisa Waugh isn't on the list. You might like to check it out if you haven't already. I read it a while ago.