Every year the United States Department of State releases a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The report details countries around the world and their compliance with anti-trafficking standards, assigning each country a rank and giving a detailed account of their efforts in the past year to combat human trafficking. Since 2004, the TIP Report has included a section in the beginning of the report honoring people as “Heroes Acting to End Modern Slavery.” This award has become more formalized over the years, and the awardees now come to the U.S. to receive their award and go on a tour of several major cities. One of the places that hosts them is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The Freedom Center was built in order to celebrate the stories of the men and women on the Underground Railroad, the ‘conductors’ who helped to abolish slavery and free slaves in the 19th century. Today, the Freedom Center stands proudly in that abolitionist tradition. The mission and mandate of the Freedom Center made it uniquely placed to be the institutional home of a website that celebrates and honors the work of these modern-day abolitionists.
The Freedom Center first worked with the State Department on the project Journey to Freedom, a documentary film that was produced in 2012 comparing the stories of Solomon Northrup, author of 12 Years a Slave, and Vannak Anan Prum, a TIP Report Hero who was enslaved in a Thai fishing boat for almost seven years. Click on the heading titled “Journey to Freedom” above to learn more about the film. The film takes these two stories of enslavement and places them side by side. Despite the fact that over 150 years had passed after Solomon’s tale before Vannak was enslaved, the stories are eerily similar. The film was shown in US Embassies worldwide, and is an incredible educational tool that shows how slavery still exists, albeit in slightly different forms.
The Freedom Center was honored to partner with the State Department a second time, on the Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Global Network project.