Teaching children to fight slavery

Posted on | april 2, 2011 | No Comments

Teaching children about history is essential for one we can never deny our past and two history is there for us to learn from our mistakes.  However just learning about history is note enough on it’s own, as sadly many of history’s lessons are not learned right away and looking at the historical perspective on issues related to humanitarian affairs and human rights can be key in devising key polices and procedures for which to improve upon and combat injustice.

One area where history and modern injustice merge is that of slavery. No, slavery is not history! Slavery is not some horrid word from our past, but also a global plague that has consumed some 27 million men, women, and children world wide and tens of thousands of which in the United States.

The slavery that is taught in history classes is only a portion of the story of global slavery. The lessons learned about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which freed some four million slaves and led to the official abolishing of slavery in the United States with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Congress on January 31, 1865. The end of slavery in Great Britain officially was passed by Parliament on March 25, 1807.  Thus one can clearly see that despite the lessons of history the hard fact is that slavery is more rampant today than in the seventeenth century.

I have long since placed great personal and professional value on the lessons of history, especially that of teaching about both the historical and modern slave trades. This can best be noted by the 2007 two part series I publushed; Human Slavery Today Versus Yesterday and Human Slavery Today Versus Yesterday Continued…, which was then reedited and published as a chapter, in the 2009 edition of At Issue: Slavery Today, a text designed for middle and high school students. I have spoke often at high schools, colleges, churches and community groups on the issues and I am always both intrigued and impressed at the interest of students, however I most often note that my lecture is the first for many on the issue…and sadly it is also often the last. Therefore for years I have discussed and the issue of putting modern slavery as a standard into school curriculum and many groups have made small attempts, I even worked successfully with a university English professor in California to add the subject into his syllabus. Therefore I was ecstatic to hear hear that Free the Slaves, in cooperation with Trocaire, has developed some very in-depth and user friendly educational materials for both teachers and parents on the scope and impact of modern slavery. The education packs are best of all free and downloadable, and even include a curriculum for an interactive after-school student meeting, which was developed by Girls Learn International.

These valuable resources and tools are vital to helping teach children not only about the history of slavery, but the current status of modern slavery, to enable them to both understand the state of human rights across the globe, but better equip them to fight and prevent such injustices..

Please also see my other posts related to teaching your children about various issues: Teaching Peace in the Midst of Conflict, Talking to Children About Conflict, How close is sexual exploitation to your child?, Having Children Study Slavery, and the following resource lists; Resources for Children and Young Adults and Resources Teachers and Parents

Additionally to learn more about modern slavery please see my previous posts on Child Soldiers, Child Trafficking, and Slavery.

The following resource links may also be of assistance in talking to your children about modern slavery:

  • Abolition Time Line
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Links
  • Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Reports and Publications
  • Human Trafficking and Slavery Related Movies and Documentaries
  • Human Trafficking Conventions and Laws
  • Slavery and Trafficking Related Books
  • Child Soldiers Links and Related Resources
  • Fair Trade and Slave Free Links
  • Fair Trade Book List

AUTHOR: Cassandra Clifford
URL: www.bridgetofreedomfoundation.org and http://children.foreignpolicyblogs.com
E-MAIL: Cassandra [at] btff.org


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