The historic Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the official end of slavery in the US, has taken on renewed significance this year, during global anti-racism protests following the murder of George Floyd.
On June 19, 1865, Union troops led by General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to break the news to the last remaining Confederate sympathisers that they had lost the Civil War and all slaves must be freed.
Newly freed slaves celebrated emancipation with “prayer, feasting, song, and dance” and the following year, the first official Juneteenth celebration was born.
Though it is important to celebrate awareness days such as Juneteenth, we must recognise that 1865 was not the end of the fight for equality and slavery but rather a big step in the right direction.
Sadly, modern slavery remains a global issue and a multi billion-dollar industry, with forced labor alone generating $150 billion each year. The Global Slavery Index (2018) estimated that around 40.3 million individuals are currently caught in modern slavery. There are an estimated 136,000 in the UK alone.
We continue to fight for equality for all and against all forms of modern slavery. Our charity exists to support survivors of modern slavery, through immediate and long-term support.
Our support aims to meet the physical and psychological needs of those who have been exploited. This typically includes medical, educational, employment and legal guidance, as well as counselling.
How can I help?
In the UK, there are a number of anti-trafficking charities like ourselves, including Ashiana, The Snowdrop project, Stop the traffik and many more where you can donate or volunteer to help combat modern slavery.
You can also find a list of useful resources on how to educate yourself further on racial discrimination and injustice.