Calling for the United States to play a larger role in ending slavery in Sudan, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the Africa Subcommittee, introduced the Eradication of Slavery in Sudan Act of 2006 (HR 5911) in July. If passed, the bill will create a commission of experts charged with investigating the progress of the eradication of slavery in Sudan and making policy recommendations to the U.S. Government.
“Long after a peace accord was signed between Khartoum and South Sudan, slavery, rape and brutality continue. Smith’s legislation brings focus on slaves left behind,” American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) Project Director Janie Kiser said. The commission’s responsibilities would include the following:
- Reporting on progress made by the Government of Sudan and NGOs in identifying the location of slaves in Sudan and ensuring their freedom;
- Working with the Government of Sudan to ensure safe passage of freed slaves and family reunification;
- Documenting existing cases of slavery and working to prevent new cases from occurring;
- Ensuring that former slaves have access to basic education and skill training, as well as medical, social, and psychological support needed for their effective rehabilitation and reintegration into society; and
- Ensuring that those individuals responsible for slavery are brought to justice.
“This legislation is about action. It is about not leaving the fate of thousands of innocent Sudanese to a government we know is corrupt or to an African Union force that is unequipped to deal with the level of violence that is still being carried out in Sudan today,” American Anti-Slavery Group Founder and President Charles Jacobs said.
The American Anti-Slavery Group, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Boston, has been working to raise awareness about slavery in Sudan since 1994, when Dr. Charles Jacobs’ New York Times op-ed broke the silence on slavery in North Africa. Since then, AASG has partnered with Zurich-based Christian Solidarity International to help free over 80,000 slaves abroad, helped pass divestment bills in New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon, and brought two survivors of slavery to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives. AASG works with survivors of slavery and anti-slavery activists, providing a platform for former victims to speak out against their oppressors and break the silence surrounding slavery around the world.
Contact your Representative today about this important legislation!