“They would not call it ‘slavery’, but some other name. Slavery has been fruitful in giving itself names… and it will call itself by yet another name; and you and I and all of us had better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume…” – Fredrick Douglas (speech at 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, May 10, 1865)
The great abolitionist predicted that slavery would always exist, even if it needed to change its name. 130 years later we now know what form slavery has taken. In Maryland, it has taken the form of human trafficking of our US children.
It is hard to believe that this still takes place on our soil, but the Department of Justice estimates that approximately 300k children are at risk for child trafficking into the commercial sex each year. Just a month ago the FBI rescued 168 children from trafficking and 2 of those were here in Baltimore. In the past year, 62 children have been identified as victims of trafficking. And we know we are just scratching the surface of the number of children who are exploited here in our state.
Araminta’s mission is to awaken, equip, and mobilze our community to end the trafficking of children in our state. So we engage our community in several ways. First we do prevention and intervention seminars with adults who can intervene on behalf of exploited children or those at most risk. We do this through the school system and have trained nearly 1500 educators and student service workers to intervene on behalf of their students. We also work with hotels to keep the exploitation of children out of their business and create traffic free environment. And we provide services for the children who have been rescued to walk beside them as they rebuild their lives and provide for their needs.
When Maryland voted to join the Union and fight against slavery, we were called “the First Redeemed.” We want to be that again. We want to be the first to end the modern day slavery of children. But we can’t do it without our entire community standing together. We believe there will be a day when those who would exploit realize that they are no longer welcome in Maryland because the people simply won’t allow it.