York U grad students launch Alliance Against Modern Slavery
TORONTO With Black History Month just around the corner, York University will host the launch of the Alliance Against Modern Slavery, founded by students in the university’s Graduate Program in History.
The AAMS, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to end slavery through research, education and partnerships with other organizations, will celebrate its launch with a benefit concert and anti-slavery art auction on Friday, Jan. 28, followed by an anti-slavery conference on Saturday, Jan. 29.
“Modern-day slavery is arguably the most under-publicized human rights crisis of our time,” says York PhD history candidate Karlee Sapoznik, AAMS president and co-founder. She notes that human trafficking alone is a $32 billion annual industry today and, at any given time, there are up to 27 million slaves around the world, the majority of which are women and children. “Public awareness of modern slavery is low, enabling traffickers to lure thousands of victims into forced labour situations. Canada, for instance, is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking,” she says.
AAMS has strong ties to York. Many of its executive members are York graduate history students and Paul Lovejoy, director of York’s Harriet Tubman Institute, is a board member.
The benefit concert and anti-slavery art auction, Party for Freedom, will be held in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre from 7 to 10pm. It will feature motivational speaker Roger Cram of Hiram College as emcee; anti-slavery activist, TED Speaker and AAMS board member Kevin Bales, president and co-founder of Free the Slaves; survivor Natasha Falle; Glendene Grant, the mother of missing human trafficking victim Jessie Foster; actress, singer and songwriter Kate Todd; guitarist Jeff Gunn; Janelle Belgrave of Peace Concept and Samba Elégua Drummers .
AAMS’s inaugural conference, Slavery in the 21st Century, will take place in Founders Assembly Hall, 152 Founders College, from 9 to 5:30pm. It will examine a variety of issues affecting slavery today. Sapoznik; Lovejoy, Bales, and University of Toronto Professor Emeritus Martin Klein will open the conference, followed by four panel discussions.