Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves

By Kevin Bales | Go to book overview

Conclusion
The Beginning of the End of Slavery

The day they told me that I was going to be free, a bird came and told me at
the window. I was very sad that day, and the bird came. With his little beak,
he knocked on the window, and I knew I was going to have some good news …
I have a lot of people around me who have been supporting me in different
ways. They don’t know me, they just hear about me, but they believe in me.
Their support means a lot to me. I will keep that forever. I’m sitting here today
because of all those people. I owe my freedom to them all.

MARIA, ENSLAVED AT AGE FIFTEEN IN THE UNITED STATES, SPEAKING IN 2005

People ask me how I can bear the work I do. They read about the hell of slavery and ask how I can look into it every day and keep going. It’s a fair question, and I will admit there have been times when the horrors I have seen have consumed my heart and mind and left me despairing, sickened, and useless. Getting to know the tortured lives of teenage girls raped again and again in the brothels of Thailand filled my sleep with nightmares and my days with visions of their helpless pain. Yet every day my job gets easier, not because my heart is getting harder but because my pain and anxiety are balanced by the joy I see and feel as more and more slaves come to freedom. I watch as every day brings us closer to freedom for all slaves.

In the liberation of one slave, we can see the liberation of all slaves. In every newly freed voice, I hear the harmonies of a world without slaves. The little boys on the cover of this book were once locked in dirty sheds, beaten, starved, and exploited. Today they laugh and play, as children should. They eat with gusto and stretch their minds in the classroom. Some of these boys are still dazzled by the world they find themselves in, still watchful. They carry the scars of their enslavement, but they are looking ahead. And in their eyes and their smiles I see the future for all slaves—as long as we can reach them in time.

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