Tougaloo College is preparing to become a world-class leader in the study of Modern Day Slavery. It's a problem found right here in the Magnolia State.
In keeping with Tougaloo College's history of involvement in the fight for human and civil rights, president Beverly Hogan says, they're ready to take on Modern Day Slavery. According to the website, Global Slavery Index Dot Org, more than 45 million people are enslaved in a range of industries worldwide--profits run in the billions of dollars. Now, a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation is helping Tougaloo establish the first ever Modern Day Slavery Institute in the nation.
"Getting our students and faculty to extend their research their scholarship in this area so that we can come up with solution to eradicate this issue," said Hogan.
The college is hosting a week-long conference with experts to develop curriculum and research efforts. Among the guests is Shamere McKenzie, a graduate of Loyola University, and a sex-trafficking survivor. She says more education is needed about how mind control can keep people enslaved.
"People understand physical enslavement when someone is chained or locked to a room. But we don't understand mental enslavement where someone has so much control of your mind where they are miles away and you have developed this compliant behavior," said McKenzie.
The lead scholar on slavery, Dr. Kevin Bales of the University of Nottingham, England is here, for the conference. He says slavery is a crime that's hidden. But it's going on in every state in the U.S., including Mississippi.
"There's slavery undoubtedly in agriculture, probably in personal care, possibly in domestic service and definitely in commercial sexual exploitation," said Bales.
Bales says the only other institute studying modern day slavery is in Europe.