Sunday, January 1, 2012

President Obama Declares January as National Slavery Prevention Month

On December 30, 2011, President Obama declared January 2012 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In separate presidential proclamations he also declared January as Mentoring Month and Stalker Awareness month.

Presidential proclamations have long been a way for U.S. Presidents to share their opinions regarding numerous issues and offer good PR.  Typically not much comes from these proclamations, but I hope something does come from this one. 

I hope it raises awareness. I hope it strengthens those organizations and individuals working against modern slavery. It is heart-wrenching work and I hope they know they are appreciated. I hope it reminds us of the millions of victims of slavery worldwide. I hope it reminds us to pray for them.  I hope it stirs up feelings strong enough to take action this month, even just one action, to combat human trafficking.  I hope it brings hope and reinforcements in this struggle.

Below is a list of ways you can help this month. Afterwards you can read the full record of President Obama's proclamation. There are over 27 million slaves worldwide and we can help. 

1. Save the National Human Trafficking hotline on your phone. (1-888-3737-888) If you notice anything suspicious, don't hesitate to call. You can learn more about the signs of human trafficking on their website.
2Get educated. Read a book about modern slavery. If you're part of a book club, suggest a book on the subject. See my suggested reading list.
3. Sign petitions online. makes it simple to sign petitions or start your own regarding human trafficking. You can help pass new legislation, change company policies and influence politicians. It's easy. Just go to
4. Link to articles via your personal Twitter, Facebook, eMail and Blogs.
5. Donate money to non-profit organizations combating modern slavery. There are many out there. Here are just a few. Free the Slaves, International Justice Mission, Not For Sale and Love146.
6. Repeat steps 1-5.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2012

Nearly a century and a half ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation -- a document that reaffirmed the noble goals of equality and freedom for all that lie at the heart of what it means to live in America.  In the years since, we have tirelessly pursued the realization and protection of these essential principles.  Yet, despite our successes, thousands of individuals living in the United States and still more abroad suffer in silence under the intolerable yoke of modern slavery.  During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we stand with all those who are held in compelled service; we recognize the people, organizations, and government entities that are working to combat human trafficking; and we recommit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse.
Human trafficking endangers the lives of millions of people around the world, and it is a crime that knows no borders.  Trafficking networks operate both domestically and transnationally, and although abuses disproportionally affect women and girls, the victims of this ongoing global tragedy are men, women, and children of all ages.  Around the world, we are monitoring the progress of governments in combating trafficking while supporting programs aimed at its eradication.  From forced labor and debt bondage to forced commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude, human trafficking leaves no country untouched.  With this knowledge, we rededicate ourselves to forging robust international partnerships that strengthen global anti-trafficking efforts, and to confronting traffickers here at home.
My Administration continues to implement our comprehensive strategy to combat human trafficking in America.  By coordinating our response across Federal agencies, we are working to protect victims of human trafficking with effective services and support, prosecute traffickers through consistent enforcement, and prevent human rights abuses by furthering public awareness and addressing the root causes of modern slavery.  The steadfast defense of human rights is an essential part of our national identity, and as long as individuals suffer the violence of slavery and human trafficking, we must continue the fight.
With the start of each year, we commemorate the anniversaries of the Emancipation Proclamation, which became effective on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and submitted to the States for ratification on February 1, 1865. 
These documents stand as testaments to the gains we have made in pursuit of freedom and justice for all, and they remind us of the work that remains to be done.  This month, I urge all Americans to educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking.  Together, and in cooperation with our partners around the world, we can work to end this terrible injustice and protect the rights to life and liberty entrusted to us by our forebears and owed to our children.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2012 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1.  I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the vital role we can play in ending modern slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirtieth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

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