Emancipation's Anniversary: More People are Enslaved Today

On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. One hundred fifty years later — as attendees at Mountainfilm in Telluride know —there are actually more people enslaved than during the Civil War.

Author and abolitionist Ben Skinner first educated festival audiences on the issue of modern-day slavery when he spoke about his book, A Crime So Monstrous, at Mountainfilm 2008. The issue attracted mainstream media after a 2009 episode of “Law and Order”called Chattel (which was inspired by Mountainfilm) and an episode of “Larry King Live.”

One way to combat this scourge is by helping people understand how prevalent slavery remains around the world with more than 27 million people not able to live freely. They are forced to work in brothels, farms, factories, mines, construction sites and even private homes with no freedom to choose their own path.

With the anniversary of emancipation on the horizon, this is an opportunity to continue the unfinished work of Abraham Lincoln by making sure your friends and family understand that modern day slavery exists — and that it can end in our lifetime. Awareness is the first step, and a good place to start is with Free the Slaves.

Related Profiles: 

The Conversation

We welcome your insights and reactions to our films and content. Please engage with us by leaving a comment. All comments will be moderated so as to avoid spam or unsuitable content being published.