ATLANTA, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The END IT Movement, a coalition of the world’s leading organizations in the fight for freedom, today declared February 23, 2017 as ‘Shine A Light On Slavery’ Day. For the fifth consecutive year, hundreds of celebrities and athletes will join forces with the END IT Movement and Freedom Fighters worldwide to raise their voices and awake the nation to the reality that is slavery.

With an estimated 20 – 45.81 million men, women and children trapped in various forms of slavery around the world, including the U.S. (bonded labor, forced labor and sex trafficking), there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history.2 As a collective group, END IT Movement and its 16 non-profit Coalition Partners are turning up the volume to expose this stark reality. END IT is issuing a call to action today by encouraging people to draw a red «X» on their hand and post to social media using #ENDITMOVEMENT to shine a light on the real-life issue of slavery and share this symbol virally.

«This grassroots viral effort has been taking the world by storm, lighting a fire amongst people of all ages and creating a truly impassioned social movement,» said Jenni Brown, END IT Movement Campaign Director. «Social media has been an incredible platform for amplifying this message, and continues to play a vital role in expanding our network of Freedom Fighters by connecting people from all walks of life with this issue. We anticipate this year’s Shine a Light on Slavery Day to spark yet another wave of global awareness in our quest for FREEDOM.»

In previous years, ‘Shine a Light on Slavery’ Day has ignited a viral response on social media, led by influencers drawing red X’s on their hands. Each year, the END IT message is amplified to millions via social media thanks to hundreds of celebrities, athletes and politicians leveraging their networks and voices for the cause, resulting in #ENDITMOVEMENT becoming a top-trending topic on Twitter and Instagram. The 2016 movement generated 144 million social media impressions capping off a hugely successful one-day campaign.

In advance of today’s ‘Shine a Light on Slavery’ Day, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a hearing on February 15 to examine progress in U.S. global efforts to end slavery and human trafficking, including recent authorization of legislation for the End Modern Slavery Initiative. The hearing featured powerful testimony from actor Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, and Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First, both sporting the END IT red X pin on their lapels.

The END IT Movement recognizes slavery as one person completely controlling another person, using violence or the threat of violence to maintain that control. Human-trafficking, the modern-day slave trade, refers to the illegal trade of human beings through abduction, the use of threat or force, deception, fraud, or ‘sale’ for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor.

For more information on how you can join, please visit www.enditmovement.com.

1 There’s no way to count with 100% accuracy the total number of people trapped in slavery. These men, women and children are part of a hidden population. Conservative estimates by the ILO say the number is as low as 20 million. In 2016, The Global Slavery Index estimated the number is closer to 45.8 million. But to us, the number isn’t as important as the people. Even 1 is too many.
2 International Labor Organization, The Cost of Coercion Report (2009) retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm

About The END IT Movement
END IT is a coalition of 16 non-profit organizations aimed to shine a light on slavery and show the world that the practice still exists. Its members include A21Campaign, Made in a Free World, ECPAT USA, Not for Sale, Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, International Justice Mission (IJM), World Relief, Love 146, World Vision, As Our Own, Bombay Teen Challenge, The Exodus Road, Hagar, Hope for Justice, and The Salvation Army. All of these organizations are working around the globe to rescue, restore and prevent slavery. For more information about these partners, visit www.enditmovement.com.

 

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SOURCE END IT Movement