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from The Great Debate:

Meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, a savior to children

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It is thanks to Kailash Satyarthi that thousands of children have been saved from a life of slavery and agony in India. It is thanks to his organization, BBA -- the ‘Save the Childhood Movement’ -- that these children can regain trust in other human beings, the vital ingredient of life.

It was six months ago in New Delhi, in the gardens of the Imperial Hotel, that I first met Kailash. Sipping a cup of iced tea, he began telling me the story of two little boys he had just rescued. These newcomers were refusing to bond with the other children, sitting on the side, looking terrorized and suspicious. It was only days later, when another child got them to utter a few words that they said: “Why are these people so kind to us? Do they want our eyes or our kidneys?” They could not imagine for a minute that someone would want to feed them and look after them without wanting to abuse them even more. That story touched my heart.

Imagine the kind of hell these children are coming from. They come from a place where children are beaten, abused, treated like a production tool and destroyed. It’s the parents who often give them away, conned by middlemen and a few rupees; but parents can also be abused by clerics, Kailash told me.

These children have been terrorized and dehumanized since their youngest age. How can they conceive a world where a child is respected and loved for nothing in return? The road to recovery is very long, and Kailash and his organization play a crucial role in this process. Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) puts these children back on their feet, educates and trains them, makes them human again.

from The Great Debate:

‘Living wage’ law is unconstitutional – if you ask lobbyists

Demonstrators rally to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 for fast-food workers at City Hall in Seattle

Industry trade groups are now challenging Seattle’s new minimum wage law as unconstitutional. They claim the city’s $15 an hour rate violates the 14th Amendment. Passed just after the Civil War to ensure equal rights for the newly freed slaves, that amendment says no state may “deny to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws.”

According to the industry lawsuit, the minimum wage law violates this Equal Protection Clause because it phases in the higher wage at a different schedule for franchised companies than for small local businesses.

from The Great Debate:

Cliven Bundy: Racism entwined with government antipathy

Conservatives would like us to believe that hatred of government and racism are totally separate phenomena. That one has nothing to do with the other. They're wrong.

Resentment of the federal government and racism have gone hand-in-hand in the United States for 200 years. In the 19th century, Democrats were the anti-government party. That was the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.  Southern slave owners embraced the Democratic Party because they feared the federal government would take away their property without compensation. And it did.

from The Human Impact:

Transporting bras to help sex-trafficking survivors

A cast-off bra can do more to change the world than you might think.

CNN Freedom Project, which shines the spotlight on the perils of modern-day slavery and human trafficking, aims to show us how in a 30-minute documentary airing on Feb. 15, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. EST on the CNN television network.

Mozambique or Bust”, narrated by actress Mira Sorvino -- who also serves as U.N. goodwill ambassador against human trafficking -- tells the tale of how Denver-based charity Free the Girls collected 34,000 donated bras and recruited help from Truckers Against Human Trafficking and other volunteers to transport them via Chicago to Mozambique.

from The Human Impact:

Dial-a-maid, get-a-slave in middle class India

When I arrived in India some years back as a single mother and full-time journalist, there was one thing I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about – finding domestic help.

Maids, nannies, drivers, cooks and cleaners are ten-a-penny amongst the urban middle classes here.

from The Human Impact:

Slavery beyond the sex trade

In Haiti, it's the little girl who is kept home from school and forced to clean her sister's house or else be beaten with electric cables.

Thousands of miles away in India, it's the shy, young woman left at the mercy of an agent who finds her a job as a maid but takes her earnings. In Bahrain, it's the Filippino domestic worker who, abused and exploited by her employer, cannot leave.

from Tales from the Trail:

U.S. Senate approves resolution apologizing for slavery

The U.S. Senate approved a resolution on Thursday apologizing for slavery and segregation of African-Americans, almost five months after Barack Obama was sworn in as the first black U.S. president.

While the Senate resolution acknowledged that an apology for centuries of wrongdoing could not erase the past, it said a "confession of the wrongs committed and a formal apology to African-Americans will help bind the wounds of the nation that are rooted in slavery, and can speed racial healing and reconciliation, and help the people of the United States understand the past and honor the history of all people of the United States."

from FaithWorld:

What Darwin and evangelicals had in common: hatred of slavery

Back in January we reported on a new book which argued that a hatred of slavery did much to form Charles Darwin's views on natural selection as he sought to prove that blacks and whites had a common ancestor and were not separate species or products of "separate creations" as many of the 19th century defenders of white supremacy maintained.

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I did a blog at the time to draw attention to my colleague Mike Collett-White's story on "Darwin's Sacred Cause" by Adrian Desmond and James Moore and said that it had piqued my curiosity enough that I might be tempted to read it. I have done just that and think it raises a couple of issues that will be of interest to readers of this blog.

from FaithWorld:

And speaking of Darwin …

A new book on Charles Darwin says a passionate hatred of slavery was fundamental to his theory of natural selection, which challenged the assumption held by many at the time that blacks and whites were separate species.

"Darwin's Sacred Cause" is among the first of dozens of works about the 19th century scientist to appear in 2009, the bicentenary of his birth and 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking "On the Origin of Species". You can see a report here about the book by my colleague Mike Collett-White.

from Africa News blog:

Time for colonial masters to pay up?

Italy's PM Berlusconi is greeted by Libya's leader Gaddafi in BenghaziItaly settled its colonial era dispute with Libya at the weekend with $5 billion in compensation for wrongs done during colonial rule. The money will be invested in a major new highway as well as used for clearing mines and other projects. Both sides say that will allow them to make a new start.

Relations between Libya and Italy had been especially difficult and this was a very specific dispute, but Italian colonialism did not last all that long in Africa - even if there were episodes of particular nastiness while it did.

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