iAbolish.org | American Anti-Slavery Group

South Sudan becomes a free nation, but tens of thousands of its people remain enslaved in the North

Press Release

July 20, 2011

Contact: Charles Jacobs, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Boston - The American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) today congratulated the people of Southern Sudan on becoming a free and independent country. The Republic of South Sudan declared independence on July 9 and became the 193rd member of the United Nations a few days later. But as the celebrations subside and the process of nation building begins, there is a stark reminder that this "national liberation" remains incomplete: tens of thousands Southern slaves remain in captivity in the North.

"It is a sad irony," said Dr. Charles Jacobs, AASG President. "It was, after all, the enslavement of African villagers that animated and bolstered much of the rebellion in South Sudan. "And it was reports of modern day human bondage in Africa's largest country that awoke Americans to the tragedy in Sudan."

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Terror in Sudan, terror in US

Ten years ago, on 9/11, I missed Mohammed Atta, the lead terrorist, by maybe a half hour at Boston’s Logan airport.
On that glorious morning, with its sun-filled cloudless sky, I caught the first flight from Logan down to Reagan National in Washington. Very shortly after I took off, Atta landed in Boston on his puddle- jumper down from Maine. At Logan, he changed planes for the fateful flight to New York.
For decades, I’d been involved in a campaign against modern-day human bondage. The American Anti-Slavery Group was working to awaken Americans to the plight of slaves around the world, particularly in northern Africa, where for decades the Muslim rulers in Sudan were waging war on that country’s Christian and tribalist south. As part of the onslaught, Arab militias stormed African villages, killed the men and brutally enslaved women and children.
The abolitionist movement had formed an unlikely left/right coalition. We recruited both Barney Frank and Pat Robertson. We attracted Christian evangelicals, who wanted to help Sudan’s Christians, and we organized much of the Congressional Black Caucus, which reacted viscerally to reports that black women and children were being captured, bought and sold.
I was bound for Washington on that 9/11 to join a coalition of Sudan activists at a press conference on Capitol Hill specifically to urge congressional leaders to place “capital market sanctions” on oil companies operating in Sudan and whose profits were fueling the dictatorship’s genocidal slave raids. The sanctions would proscribe Wall Street from trading their shares. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was animated in his opposition.
I was to speak alongside modern day heirs of America’s abolitionist struggle: John Eibner, head of Christian Solidarity International’s slave redemption program; Joe Madison, the “Black Eagle,” a national NAACP board member and Washington radio personality who had taken up the cause in 1995 and repeatedly risked his life to go to Sudan with Eibner to free hundreds of slaves. Rev. Walter Fauntroy – a civil rights veteran who was the main organizer of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington – would speak as well.
As I stood in the US Capitol, waiting to deliver my remarks, I reviewed my text, written on yellow legal sheets. It contained a warning: “Wall Street should not trade the shares of companies who do business with the slave-and-terror state of Sudan. … If we sit by and allow this terror in Africa, who is to say where such things will end?”
But I never got a chance to speak.
On televisions in the hearing room images appeared of a plane stuck in the middle of a building in New York City. A burly policeman burst into our conference room, yelling “Everybody out! This building is being evacuated.” As we were herded toward the exits, people spoke of planes striking the World Trade Center. Then we heard that the Pentagon was just hit. When the police said, “A plane is heading for the Capitol building,” we ran. In a flash of paranoia we imagined that terrorist operatives might be hunting down their adversaries. Khartoum had long ago made a list of the human rights advocates who had caused them to be the focus of scorn. None of us could get through to our families on our cell phones. We split up. Eibner and I rushed off in one direction. Fauntroy and Madison in another.
When we booked a hotel room and turned on the TV – there was no traveling that day – terrible ironies began to dawn on me. We learned how hijackers had attacked passengers with box-cutters. I recalled a woman I had met that previous April in Sudan during a liberation mission led by Eibner, with Fauntroy and Madison. In a low voice, she explained how the slave raiders would cut the throats of any women who resisted gangrape.
In Sudan, they didn’t need hidden box-cutters. Though I didn’t get to speak, the hijackers that morning had delivered my message: Trading with terrorists is not just morally wrong, it is deadly.
Even though I had traveled to southern Sudan to see the Ground Zero of slavery, the full scope of our struggle did not hit home until a hijacked airplane crashed into Washington.
As I thought of the American dead, I recalled the Southern Sudanese who had been on the frontlines against jihad terror for decades. We had been trying to tell the world their story for eight years, but the moment the hijacked planes struck our buildings, Americans and the blacks of southern Sudan became brothers and sisters. Ten years ago.

Ten years ago, on 9/11, I missed Mohammed Atta, the lead terrorist, by maybe a half hour at Boston’s Logan airport.  On that glorious morning, with its sun-filled cloudless sky, I caught the first flight from Logan down to Reagan National in Washington. Very shortly after I took off, Atta landed in Boston on his puddle- jumper down from Maine. At Logan, he changed planes for the fateful flight to New York.

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Eradicating slavery

This article was first published in The Jerusalem Post Magazine
Eradicating slavery
By Niv Elis
One man's passion to end slavery in Sudan may be making a significant impact, but why don't human rights groups seem to be doing their job? And what does this all mean for Israel?
Two things would never be the same after Charles Jacobs, a management consultant from Boston, read a tiny sidebar on page 47 of The Economist on his way home from a business trip in 1994: the focus of his life's work and the fate of thousands of Sudanese slaves.
The small box of an article mentioned that Sudanese men and women were being sold for about $10 apiece in a slave trade sparked by civil war.
"To hear that you could buy and sell black people - first of all it's crazy that nobody knew about it," Jacobs told The Jerusalem Post Magazine on a recent visit to Israel.
But after doing some digging, he discovered another shocking fact.
Charles Jacobs with freed slaves (January, 2011)
Photo by Christian Solidarity International
"Everybody who was supposed to know about this knew about it. Amnesty International had files and files and files about Mauritania and Sudan, North African slaves, the United Nations had files and files and files, Human Rights Watch had files and files and files." But nobody was doing anything about it.
Indeed, the secret of modern day slavery was out in the open, available to anyone who bothered to find out about it. A 2002 State Department report on the topic said the practice of slavery in Sudan was "extensively documented" by groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Anti-Slavery International and the UN.
"The revival of Sudanese slavery was documented and well known in governmental and NGO circles since the mid-1980s," says Christian Solidarity International, an NGO active in the cause of Sudanese slavery.
From the time it declared independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956, Sudan has been ravaged by war over land, religion, race, oil resources and freedom. Half a million people died in its 17-year first civil war, which began before the country's official independence, and some two million people died when the conflict flared up again in 1983. The second civil war lasted 22 years and resulted in the South's secession as the world's newest country in July 2011.
It was during the latter civil war that slavery made a comeback in Sudan. Although "hostage-taking" was common practice between feuding tribes and agrarian groups that depended on shared resources, these abductions were usually resolved through payment. But one group, the Muslim Arab Baggara of the North, took a different approach, taking members of the Dinka tribe, their Southern neighbors, as slaves during raids.
Jacobs with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (January, 2011)
Photo by Christian Solidarity International
According to the US State Department, "it is only in Baggara raids on non-Muslim southerners that some people are taken as slaves." Part of the reason is that the Sudanese government supported and armed the group, giving it both implicit political backing and resources, meaning that it did not have to resolve disputes with the Dinka to gain access to their land and water.
Arab, Islamized groups attempting to dominate or assimilate peripheral groups like the Dinka referred to them using derogatory terms like zuruq (blacks) and abid (slave). There were also racial and religious components to the attacks; reading about them was the first time Jacobs had ever encountered the word jihad.
"This was not Western slavery where you need musculature to do cotton, this was concubinage - you used the women to multiply your civilization through their wombs," says Jacobs, who went on to write the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on modern slavery.
"There are slaves in Pakistan, there are debt-bonded slaves, chocolate slaves, there are people that weave the rugs that we walk on in our nice middle-class lives." But in Sudan, it was the worst. "Horrible. As a Jew, I saw it as: you're a small people, nobody cares, you're going to get really hurt."
As one might imagine, the life of a slave is unforgiving.
Men are typically forced to tend livestock in cattle camps or work agricultural fields, while women perform domestic and field labor, according to CSI. "Sexual abuse of slaves is widespread, especially, but not exclusively, amongst female slaves. Beatings, death threats, forced conversions, forced labor, racial and religious insults are commonplace," CSI says. Horror stories abound; the US State Department reports stories of a boy who saw his brother murdered during his abduction, an eight-year-old beaten for losing a goat, a teenage girl raped, impregnated and left to raise the child of her captor. "Some slaves are executed if they displease their masters," says CSI.
So Jacobs did what he thought any concerned citizen should do: He called his congressman, Barney Frank.
Frank gave him sage advice: get good evidence, and build a strong coalition. At this task, Jacobs turned out to be a master. It may have seemed odd, but he figured that as a Jew, he could create a partnership with Mauritanians Muslims and Christian South Sudanese; all had suffered slavery in their histories.
It took some persuading.
"The Sudanese complained to me, 'we lost two million people, there's a war of extermination against us - some people are calling it a genocide." The enslavement of a few thousand people was surely not as worthy a goal as ending the relentless killing, they argued.
Jacobs had come to believe, however, that people interested in human rights were more likely to act if they felt some link to the oppressor, not the victim.
"It's about expiation. It's about getting off the shame and guilt of colonialism or enslaving of blacks," he said.
To get anything done at all, he explained, they had to "market" what was going on by focusing on the aspect that people would feel guilty about. "America is an abolitionist nation. If we focus on slavery, no one here will be able to not respond," he argued. Without a resonant issue, war in Sudan was to Western eyes "just one more African tragedy," and nobody would take action.
Eventually, the group agreed, and in 1994, Jacobs founded the American Anti-Slavery movement, and co-authored a New York Times op-ed with his Mauritanian colleague Mohamed Athie, pushing the issue of Sudanese slavery into the American consciousness.
He built a political coalition of support that spanned from Rep. Frank on the Left to Pat Robertson on the Right, Evangelical churches and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Even as political awareness arose, however, nothing was being done to free the slaves. Until John Eibner came along. The head of the US branch of international charity and development group Christian Solidarity International, Eibner approached the issue of Sudanese slaves up close, documenting case studies, getting photographs and organizing the first US anti-slavery conference since the civil war.
In Sudan, Eibner discovered that slave-holding Arabs who wanted a de-escalation with the Dinka - and access to their markets and grazing fields - were willing to sell their slaves back into freedom. For $50-110 apiece, he could free slaves and provide them with temporary shelter and food to help them get on their feet. In Jacobs's words, Eibner was "an Indiana Jones traipsing through the desert with bags of cash to buy back slaves."
Jacobs climbed on board, teaming up with Eibner to release as many slaves as possible. The two were understandably taken aback when their efforts were publicly denounced by unlikely critics: the human rights community.
"The problem of slavery in Sudan is a complex one; it cannot be ended solely by efforts to 'redeem' or buy back slaves," Human Rights Watch wrote in a 1999 brief on the issue. A joint statement with the Sudan Council of Churches and the New Sudan Council of Churches said, "With all the good intentions in slave redemption, it does not end slavery." Slavery is a byproduct of the war, they argued, so only reaching a peace agreement could eradicate it. Not only that, but buyback attempts might exacerbate the problem.
"Knowledge that there are foreigners with deep pockets willing to pay to redeem slaves could spur on unscrupulous individuals to make a business out of 'redemption,'" actually creating incentives for more enslavements. Buybacks pose a "real danger of fueling a market in human beings" HRW's advocacy director Reed Brody said at the time.
Some other anti-slavery groups refrained from the practice. Anti-slavery International says it doesn't pay for slaves because of "the danger of perpetuating the cycle of slavery. Slave masters have been known to buy more slaves with their redemption money." Another group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, stopped redeeming slaves in 2002 after discovering that their interlocutors in the slave-freeing business were defrauding them, "releasing" many people who had never been enslaved.
Jacobs and Eibner dismiss this line of thinking out of hand. Slavery in Sudan, they say, is not driven by economic forces, but political ones, and there is no evidence of a slave market being created. With the local community leaders and the families of the victims on board, and no better alternatives being offered, why not free as many people as possible? In addition, the human rights world had made compromises of its own. The Sudanese government managed to water down a 1999 UN Human Rights commission resolution, ridding it of any mention of slavery whatsoever, substituting the euphemism "abduction."
The Jacobs/Eibner approach received some vindication when, in 2005, the North and South signed a peace deal ending the civil war and paving the way for a referendum that would see the creation of South Sudan as the newest sovereign state in July 2011. As the human rights critics had hoped, the slave trade ended with the war. CSI estimates that more 35,000 slaves remain captive in the North, but without their efforts, there would have been many more - to the tune of 80,000 more, they say
Through continuing his efforts to free slaves, Jacobs has set his sights on a new goal as well: finding ways that Israel can help South Sudan, and vice versa.
The new state is inherently pro-Israel, Jacobs says, having fought off an Islamist enemy and overcome a history of slavery.
"It's an extraordinary historical moment that you have the newest country in the world embracing Israel," Jacobs says.
In his view, Israel has a lot to offer South Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world. After all, Israel has some experience making the desert bloom.
"Five Israeli agriculturalists sitting there for two weeks could double their agricultural output!" he says. Jacobs even sees opportunity in the waves of Sudanese refugees in Israel, many of whom are eager to return home to their newly independent state. "Israel has an enormous opportunity to educate them while they're here. It would be a wonderful thing. A magnificent thing."
And for its part, Israel, which has already hosted South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, might gain something valuable in return from South Sudan: an ally in the UN and the notoriously anti-Israel Human Rights Council in particular. Given the Council's past positions on slavery, South Sudan will surely find the chance to make its voice heard there extremely satisfying.

This article was first published in The Jerusalem Post Magazine

By Niv Elis

Two things would never be the same after Charles Jacobs, a management consultant from Boston, read a tiny sidebar on page 47 of The Economist on his way home from a business trip in 1994: the focus of his life's work and the fate of thousands of Sudanese slaves.

The small box of an article mentioned that Sudanese men and women were being sold for about $10 apiece in a slave trade sparked by civil war.

Read more...

Islamic State Circulates Sex Slave Price List

by Sangwon Yoon
August 3, 2015
A senior United Nations official says Islamic State is circulating a slave price list for captured women and children, and that the group’s ongoing appeal and barbarity pose an unprecedented challenge.
The official, Zainab Bangura, said that on a trip to Iraq in April she was given a copy of an Islamic State pamphlet, which included the list, showing that captured children as young as one fetch the highest price. The bidders include both the group’s own fighters and wealthy Middle Easterners.
The list shows the group’s view of the value of those it captures and surfaced some eight months ago, though its authenticity came under question. Bangura, who is the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict and was also in Jordan and Turkey, said she has verified that the document came from Islamic State and reflects real transactions.
“The girls get peddled like barrels of petrol,” she said in an interview last week in New York. “One girl can be sold and bought by five or six different men. Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom.”
For Islamic State fighters, the prices in Iraqi dinars for boys and girls aged 1 to 9 are equal to about $165, Bangura said. Prices for adolescent girls are $124 and it’s less for women over 20.
The militia’s leaders first take those they wish, after which rich outsiders from the region are permitted to bid thousands of dollars, Bangura said. Those remaining are then offered to the group’s fighters for the listed prices.
Verified List
Bangura, a Muslim and former foreign minister of Sierra Leone, said that Islamic State, which rules some 80,000 square miles across swathes of Iraq and Syria, is unlike other insurgent groups and challenges all known models of fighting them.
“It’s not an ordinary rebel group,” she said. “When you dismiss them as such, then you are using the tools you are used to. This is different. They have the combination of a conventional military and a well-run organized state.”
Officials and scholars have struggled to understand Islamic State’s success despite breaking what are widely seen as rules for insurgents -- to be sure to mingle with local populations, not take on established militaries or try to hold territory. The group has broken all those rules and draws thousands of foreign fighters despite its well-publicized savagery.
Below is a scanned copy of the list obtained and verified by the UN.
Spread Fear
Kerry Crawford, who teaches at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, said that publicizing the violations is used to the group’s advantage by building internal ties and external fear.
“If you and your group are doing something that is considered taboo, your doing it together forms a bond,” she said. “Sexual violence does really create fear within a population.”
She also said that sexual abuse by soldiers has a long history including the so-called rape camps in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Islamic State has made a particular practice of enslaving communities it has conquered that are not Sunni Muslim -- Yazidis and Christians, for example. 
It portrays such conquests as God’s work, drawing disaffected Muslims from around the world.
Bangura said the international community and the UN have been taken aback by such practices because they do not resemble those of village militias in other countries.
“They have a machinery, they have a program,” she said. “They have a manual on how you treat these women. They have a marriage bureau which organizes all of these ‘marriages’ and the sale of women. They have a price list.”

by Sangwon Yoon

August 3, 2015

A senior United Nations official says Islamic State is circulating a slave price list for captured women and children, and that the group’s ongoing appeal and barbarity pose an unprecedented challenge.The official, Zainab Bangura, said that on a trip to Iraq in April she was given a copy of an Islamic State pamphlet, which included the list, showing that captured children as young as one fetch the highest price. The bidders include both the group’s own fighters and wealthy Middle Easterners.The list shows the group’s view of the value of those it captures and surfaced some eight months ago, though its authenticity came under question. Bangura, who is the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict and was also in Jordan and Turkey, said she has verified that the document came from Islamic State and reflects real transactions.

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How you can help save terrorized Yazidi girls

http://savethewest.com/how-you-can-help-save-terrorized-yazidi-girls/

August 12, 2015

A Canadian businessman, Steve Maman, has taken on a cause like no other: to raise the money (donate here) to liberate thousands of Yazidi girls, some as young as 10, whom ISIS has captured and is sexually terrorizing, then selling off as slaves to other terrorists, and nondescript “Middle Eastern men.”

Fair warning: Reviewing this material requires a strong stomach.

Learn about Maman’s foundation here:

The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq

Read about Maman and why he’s doing this here:

Inspired by Oscar Schindler, Jewish Businessman Leads Effort to Rescue Christian, Yazidi Girls From ISIS

‘Jewish Schindler’ Saves Dozens of Yazidis and Christians from Islamic State

Listen to a 14:00 radio interview of Maman by Mark Levin, August 11, 2015 here

While our “news” media and “influencers” distract us with celebrity gossip and various nonsense, these girls are suffering, today, right now, and a courageous businessman is trying to save them. But it can’t be done without money.

Please donate today, here. And even if you cannot make a donation, please share this post through social media and email. Do it today.

Thank you.

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Yazidi women and girls who have been rescued from ISIS savages.

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