human trafficking gets spotlight @ TED Conference

The recently ended Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conference is one of the most anticipated, talked about and blogged about conferences. It provides a platform to explore some of the most challenging problems of the 21st century and the most progressive solutions or future solutions to these challenges. Eminent actors from the technology, design, entertainment and business spheres interact and share innovative approaches to addressing wide ranging issues.  The likes of Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, David Cameron and James Cameron were all part of this year’s conference. Issues discussed at this year’s conference included energy, governance and climate change. TED is arguably one of the only conferences out there that can put together global leaders from entertainment, business, technology, health, among other sectors, into one room.

Despite the pre-eminence of this conference it has not been without its controversies. Chief among them is the exclusivity of the conference. It is viewed as elitist. It is open only to the invited and attendance costs stand at a prohibitive US$6000 among other issues. However, despite these well founded criticisms the conference remains an exciting and permanent feature of the conference circuit and marks a gobal attempt to innovatively confront today’s challenges.

What was particularly exciting about TED 2010 for modern day abolitionists is the fact that Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves had an opportunity to talk about human trafficking .  He highlighted the fact that people do not enslave people to be mean to them but do it inorder to make a profit. He stated that slaves are found in every country and on every continent. According to Bales, slavery has been around forever, what is just new is the price for slaves. Humans are cheaper than ever. He finally stated that he belived that US10,8 billion is what is required to free all the slaves and this is the same amount spent globally last year on gaming equipment. Are we willing to live in a world of slavery?? Hope the TED organisers get this talk up soon.

SAAHTT believes that human trafficking can only be confronted successfully when it is exposed at the gobal level. The fact that Kevin Bales got an opportunity to talk about this most heinous crime at such a global forum is really important and marks one small step in blowing the cover off human trafficking and getting people to think about modern slavery and ways to combat it.