Originally posted in 2015, updated in 2021.
June 19th is Juneteenth - the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
In 1865, people didn't find things out instantly by reading a blog post, checking Twitter trends or watching TV. News traveled slowly. So even though it was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, on June 19, 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas he was the first to announce that the Confederacy was defeated and all slaves were officially free.
The fight for freedom is a long one, making it all the more important to acknowledge and appreciate the critical victories and milestones—like Juneteenth—we've passed along the way.
The unfortunate truth is that we still have a long way to go when it comes to truly ending modern-day slavery.
Fast forward from 1865 to present day. Advocates are still fighting to end slavery across the world. In fact, every June, the U.S. State Department publishes its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, a critical tool needed to tell the truth about the state of slavery in every country.
For the TIP Report to be reach its full impact, we need advocates and legislators actively engaging with it. On its own, the report provides a comprehensive data set on governmental anti-trafficking efforts around the world.
In the hands of justice advocates like you, the TIP Report catalyzes and drives life-saving action to rescue victims, protect survivors and prosecute traffickers.
It is possible to end slavery in our lifetime. And this report is essential in helping us achieve that goal. But for it to be effective, Congress must be involved.
Make sure your legislators amplify the reality of trafficking and continue the fight against slavery until all are free!