One of the many interesting panel discussions at the conference I recently attended focused on the role of historians in the fight against slavery and their contributions to the understanding and handling of this oh-not-so-modern issue.
As David Blight highlighted, ‘the sense of history’ is important to human rights activists and survivors, and any human being really, because it teaches them the valuable lesson that they are not alone. I can expand on this idea and add that history can show us that what activists and survivors face is not necessarily something that has not been encountered in the past by someone else and that success is certainly an option, however difficult the fight might seem at first (or on most days).
The study of history, in my opinion, should definitely be included in the training and education of any present human rights activist. The panel certainly agreed and emphasized that history can give humans self-knowledge and most importantly, inform them of the conditions, both personal and structural, under which progress occurred. After all, history is important not only to help us learn from mistakes, but also to help us learn from the successes of those who fought long before we were even born.
Following up on the above comments, I guess I can safely conclude that if we truly want to understand the reach, magnitude, and all aspects of human trafficking and learn how to better approach and defeat it, we should begin by familiarizing ourselves with similar fights from the past and at the same time conduct rigorous research to uncover present trends.