Saturday, September 24, 2011

End Slavery NOW! Interactive Map

End Slavery Now - Interactive map

Global Anti-Slavery Action Map Advances Fight Against Human Trafficking

Some of you who are active in Human Rights issues may have already gotten the scoop on this, but several new interactive maps about modern day slavery and a “Slavery Footprint” survey app (similar to the Carbon footprint ones) have been launched within the past few days.  
“End Slavery Now (ESN) today announced the successful launch of the new anti-slavery ‘Action on the Ground’ project map, the first comprehensive and interactive web-based app to track the global fight against human trafficking.  The new tool allows partner NGOs around the world to upload projects, photos and links; making it easy to see what organizations are doing to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate modern-day slaves, as well as stem demand. 
Leading anti-slavery nonprofits including Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, Shared Hope International and International Justice Mission helped seed the map with their work.  Icons distinguish the varied forms of modern slavery, such as forced labor, child soldiers, or sex trafficking.
‘The world map looks depressing when you flag it with the types of slavery that people endure in different countries,’ said Dr. Kevin Bales, co-founder and president of Free the Slaves. ‘But it can look quite hopeful when you also flag it with the frontline projects that are combating slavery around the globe.’  Prior to the launch, participating NGOs posted over 80 projects in 30 countries.  More actions are being uploaded daily.
Lauren Taylor, ESN's founder and president, said, ‘Our goal is to create the most comprehensive visualization of the movement's true scope, and by doing so foster greater coordination, cooperation and communication amongst all the members.’
‘Now that's a map with the kind of information I -- and others -- can use,’ said Jim Greenbaum, founder and managing director of The Greenbaum Foundation, and member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  Mr. Greenbaum is attending CGI's annual meeting in New York City this week, where he is directing NGOs and other philanthropists to the website. ‘This is the tool we've all been waiting for.’
As a free public resource, the project map can be viewed by anyone with access to the Internet.  ‘What's equally important about this initiative is that now we'll be able to see the gaps where the work isn't being done,’ said Amanda Kloer, a Director of Organizing for and Special Correspondent for CNN's Freedom Project. ‘As the anti-slavery movement gains momentum, this platform will help funders, activists, organizations and agencies use their resources wisely, instead of duplicating efforts. 27 million people are counting on it.’

About End Slavery Now
End Slavery Now (ESN) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit working to end modern slavery by developing a comprehensive Internet-based platform for growing and advancing the anti-trafficking movement that: integrates resources to allow members of the anti-trafficking movement to efficiently coordinate their respective efforts to combat slavery; allows information to be shared with, and resources directed toward, partners and other stakeholders; coordinates grassroots efforts through social networking and allows individuals to make meaningful contributions in the anti-trafficking movement.  Since its founding in 2009, ESN has launched the ESN Take Action database and the New Underground Railroad, the world's largest database of volunteers, facilities and service providers working together to fight human trafficking.  For more information, please visit

The Products of Slavery

Anti-Slavery International (ASI)”Products of Slavery” interactive map of slave labor
Another good website for interactive info on global slavery, this time from the point of view of product supply chains, is at  It shows where products are being made using child labor or forced labor.

“Last October, Free the Slaves’ UK partner Anti-Slavery International (ASI) launched an interactive website that helps consumers get a global snapshot of slave labor in product supply chains. shows you which products and industries have been found to use slave labor—and where in the world this occurs.  The interactive map is based on data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor in a 2009 report.
Founded in 1839, ASI is the oldest human rights organization in the world. In 1850, they were already targeting slavery in supply chains with their “slave-free produce” action groups, which promoted the consumption of slave-free plantation sugar. ASI was way ahead of its time—because 160 years later, the elimination of slavery in supply chains is now the focus of many activists and policy makers in the anti-slavery movement.
Just last September, California passed the Supply Chain Transparency Act, which requires all companies that gross over $100 million to disclose what they do to eliminate slavery in their supply chains. And in July, legislation was passed that requires U.S. companies to similarly disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery in products made with Congo minerals.”
From Free The Slaves website at

The "Slavery Footprint" Survey

Take the Slavery Footprint Survey

Can Social Media End Modern Slavery?
“How many people does your lifestyle enslave? A new website and mobile app will calculate your ‘slavery footprint’ based on how many forced laborers around the world likely harvested the beans in your coffee or mined the mica in your eyeshadow.
The sleekly-designed application—which queries users on their consumption habits, then helps them draft letters to companies addressing the slaves in their supply chains—is aimed squarely at the socially-minded social media user accustomed to the instant gratification of accessing e-activism in her back pocket. Sign a petition! Tweet a hashtag!  End modern slavery in 11 easy steps! The technological approach is already a hit:  After launching yesterday morning, overwhelming traffic crashed the website for much of the day.
Now back online, the application has some clever built-in features to manage some of the more problematic aspects of keypad activism. While the app helpfully identifies the forced labor products sitting in your garage, coffee grinder, and medicine cabinet, it can't tell you how to buy your way out of the slavery supply chain by switching from Starbucks to Caribou or Revlon to MAC. ‘We wanted to make the application brand-agnostic because this is an issue that is affecting everyone,’ says Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, who helped develop the app. ‘There is not a company out there that isn't tied up in this in some way.’
That feature tends to complicate the human slavery accountability process for consumers. Coffee drinkers and cosmetics users can't just wash their hands of forced labor by firing off an angry letter and realigning their brand allegiances, and that's a good thing. ‘We're not interested in rewarding or punishing one particular brand right now,’ says Justin Dillon, the developer behind the app.  If only select companies were to eliminate slavery from their supply chains, that could create a problematic economy for non-slave products.  Instead, the Slavery Footprint hopes to build enough pressure around the issue to bring about industry-wide change.  Dillon says he wants to avoid creating a market for ‘boutique’ products built without slave labor that are only accessible to well-to-do consumers with ‘more discretionary income to spend on ethically-sourced products.’  If any particular company pledges to eliminate its reliance on slave labor in its production process, ‘that's great,’ says Dillon, ‘but there are still 27 million-plus people in these conditions.  We don't want to give anyone the opportunity to just jump off the bus.’
Even radical lifestyle changes are unlikely to cut any consumer's Slavery Footprint down to zero.  As the application makes clear, slave labor is so pervasive in the American lifestyle that eliminating all the produce, transportation, and electronics that employ forced laborers is impossible (even the smartphone you use to access the application was likely built with slave labor). ‘You're going to be touched by slavery no matter what, and I think that's actually a liberating thing,’ says CdeBaca.  ‘We can no longer say that this is someone else’s problem.  I don’t have a maid in my basement that I’m abusing,’ CdeBaca says, but he does ‘eat shrimp that contributes to people being enslaved in Thailand and Malaysia.’  The point came home to CdeBaca while sitting in a business meeting about the project, when he realized that everyone in attendance was using smartphones and wearing cotton shirts. ‘If there was shrimp laying around,’ CdeBaca says, ‘we probably would have eaten it.’
American consumers aren't currently equipped to eliminate their contributions to modern slavery, so the app's developers hope a heightened awareness of that fact will be powerful enough to spark change.  With the app, consumers are empowered to inform companies:  ‘I'm in the store, looking at your product, thinking about slavery,’ CdeBaca says. ‘My activism is more judo than karate,’ Dillon adds.  ‘Almost everything we consume is made with slavery. Why not try to use the benefits of those products to actually fix the problem?’ from

That Slavery Footprint survey somehow reminds me of the late-18th and early-19th Century English abolitionists who refused to use sugar in their tea because it supported the plantation slave trade. It was called "Sugar Abstention," since the term "Boycott" didn't come into being until the late 1800's.  The practice of "boycotting" was named after an Irish land agent of the same name who was apparently cruel enough in his dealings with his tenants that the entire local community shunned him and refused to either work for him or sell him goods (or even to deliver his mail!) You know things are seriously bad when they name something like that after you! The term now-a-days for a prolonged boycott is "moral purchasing."  

This is by the Chalk Project, the same people who chalked the names of the Triangle Fire victims on streets of NYC for the anniversary of the fire. See

And one last map – Trafficking of Females from

 Oh, I know I said this is the last map three maps ago, but I am adding a couple more! Some of these are not the greatest cartographically, but they do make their point.  And as I always say, "A clear map IS a beautiful map." 

 A little historical perspective...
Slave Trade from Africa to the Americas 1650-1860:  Outflow of Africans to the Americas and Europe. This one is from an interesting blog about slavery

And this really is the last one, just because it is so nice, cartographically (even though the resolution sucks).

TransAtlantic Slave Trade Routes

For those of you with an interest in history (and what right-thinking person doesn't have an interest in history, I ask you!) I also highly recommend the beautiful book "Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade," by Eltis and Richardon, 2010, Yale University Press.  It was featured in my "Geography Beach Books" post and one day I will post a review of it. But if you can't buy it, take it out of the library - it is a really special book.


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