In a tiny speck of a village in Uttar Pradesh, India, a community of rock quarry miners have given their cluster of thatched roofed houses the name Azad Nagar. Freedomville. The miners named their village in 2000, only a few months after they staged a slave revolt that overthrew the profit-driven landowners who had held their families in slavery in rock quarries for generations. If you search for Azad Nagar on a map, you won’t find it. To everyone else, it’s called Sonbarsa. Located in the poorest province in one of the poorest countries in the world, Sonbarsa is a barren, rocky, plot of land in the middle of one of the most densely populated states in the world.
In 2016, Dr. Earl Lewis convened a meeting on slavery among 40 principle collaborators—scholars, organizations, and instiutions—at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Out of this meeting came the "Slavery and Its Aftermath" initiative at the Center for Social Solutions. This project aims to tackle America’s original sin—slavery.
During the summer of 2020 rumors about human trafficking spread on social media like wildfire. They implicated celebrities like Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres, as well as the online home-goods retailer Wayfair. These rumors are unfounded.
Today is a day to honor those whose lives were lost due to anti-transgender violence. The fact that many transgender and gender-nonconforming people are forced to turn to sex work to survive makes them particularly vulnerable to trafficking, assault, and other tragedies.