Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education: Help teach kids about historical and modern slavery

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Frederick Douglass

Slavery isn't just history; it still exists today.  That's why we're asking the U.S. Department of Education to help facilitate the National Human Trafficking Education Program. . . including curricula that teach historical slavery and Human Trafficking prevention and demand reduction, as well as provide teacher training and reporting protocal training materials.

January 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Lincoln undoubtedly believed that, when he finally saw the end to legalized slavery in America, it would never return. But slavery has returned. Today, we call it Human Trafficking and you can do something about it.

Tens of thousands of children, women and men in America are enslaved right now through illegal labor practices or they’re prostituted in the commercial sex industry. Hundreds of thousands more are vulnerable to being trafficked as well.

Legalized slavery has been abolished in every country, but now it exists all over the world as a black market industry. The best way to combat Human Trafficking is for all of us first to inform ourselves about this crime. Understanding the issue will reduce the chances that you and your loved ones will become its victims. The next step is to take collective action. We must speak in one voice to make changes that will begin to eliminate Human Trafficking from our communities.

Students across the country have collaborated with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation to produce the New Proclamation of Freedom. Young people are speaking with one voice to encourage the U.S. Department of Education to make Human Trafficking education a priority for U.S. public schools. Can secondary school education on this issue really bring about meaningful change? Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

Please read the New Proclamation and join this effort to make both short-term and long-term changes on the issue of Human Trafficking.

Letter to
U.S. Department of Education
New Proclamation of Freedom

ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1862, PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation as the first step to ending legalized slavery in the United States of America. On January 1, 1863, he signed this executive order. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in December 1865, finally made slavery illegal in the U.S. for good.

Today, the U.S. Department of State, in its 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, estimates that there are millions of people enslaved around the world including thousands within the borders of the United States. Most are held in either sexual or labor servitude. Human Trafficking, one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, depends on concealment, misinformation and public ignorance in order to survive.

WHEREAS, we, the undersigned, believe that All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whether they be children or adults, women or men;

WHEREAS, sex trafficking – a violent, coercive, objectifying crime – generates billions of U.S. dollars a year because buyers create a demand for prostituted individuals;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of State has reported that the U.S. is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children--both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens--subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, indentured servitude, and sex trafficking;

WHEREAS, thousands of runaway, missing, or exploited children in the United States are vulnerable to being trafficked;

WHEREAS, the trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation is a heinous crime perpetrated by profiteering pimps on both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in all types of neighborhoods in the United States;

WHEREAS, labor trafficking in the United States—including domestic servitude, as well as forced labor in construction, service, sales, and other industries—coerces people to work without payment in situations they cannot freely leave;

WHEREAS, the sex trafficking of adults enslaves thousands of victims in the U.S.—including citizens and foreign nationals;

WHEREAS, international child trafficking for labor, agriculture, mining, sex, and domestic work, victimizes between 980,000 and 1,225,000 children each year;

WHEREAS, there are millions of laborers in the world (especially in South Asia) who are enslaved by their “employers”/traffickers by unjust, exorbitant, unremitting, and often intergenerational debt, in industries such as agriculture, carpet making, mining domestic servitude and apparel manufacturing;

WHEREAS, the Internet, with over 2 billion users worldwide, is utilized to promote, advertise and facilitate modern slavery and Human Trafficking;

WHEREAS, Human Trafficking education, beginning in secondary school, can help reduce the vulnerability of children to the crime and empower young people to raise awareness and find new ways to combat human trafficking in their communities.

THEREFORE, on this day, January 1, 2013, the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, we request that the U.S. Department of Education facilitate the implementation of an ongoing National Human Trafficking Education Program in schools across the United States of America and its territories as part of an effort to assure the freedom of U.S. citizens from the crime of Human Trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Education Program would include curricula that teach historical slavery, Human Trafficking, prevention and demand reduction as well as provide teacher training and reporting protocol training materials.

Frederick Douglass, in 1863, as a testament to the historical importance of the Emancipation Proclamation, stated, “The fourth of July was great, but the first of January, when we consider it in all its relations and bearings, even greater.” And, now, on the 150th anniversary of that “greater” day, we petition for the assurance of freedom from servitude as it once again threatens U.S. citizens. We simply ask that our youth be armed with the knowledge to help protect themselves and their communities against this insidious crime.

U.S. Students and the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,700 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.