The Fight Against Modern Slavery: Fulfilling the Promise of the Emancipation Proclamation

This Feb. 18, 2005 file photo shows the original Emancipation Proclamation on display in the Rotunda of the National Archives in Washington. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

On New Year’s Day, our nation celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. President Obama commemorated the anniversary with two Presidential Proclamations: one that celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation and reaffirms the timeless principles it upheld, and a second that declares January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and calls on all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms… more »

Combating Modern Slavery 150 Years After the Emancipation Proclamation

Child laborers carry stones, Gauhati, India, June 11, 2008. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Luis CdeBaca serves as the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, announcing his intention to emancipate all the slaves in the Confederate states that did not return to the Union within 100 days. On January 1, 1863, he declared free the 3.1 million slaves in those states.

Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of that date in 1862, which heralded the victory of freedom and justice, and our country’s ongoing commitment to those values. Yet, at the same time, as many as 27 million men, women, and children around the world live in a state of modern slavery — what we also refer to as trafficking in persons. So as we mark this occasion, we reflect not just on the tragedy of the past, but on the ongoing responsibility to fight for freedom. To honor the memories of those who lived and died in bondage, and those who fought and died so that… more »