It's unbelievable that's slavery is still happening today. Actual human slavery.
But it is. According to the U.S. State Department, there are more slaves around the world today than at any time in recorded history: 27 million men, women and children around the world are victims of "human trafficking."
Today, the End It Movement is asking people to "disappear" from their social media profiles to raise awareness of the realities of modern-day slavery.
If you're interested in taking part, you can visit their site and download the Disappearing kit. It features graphics you can use on your social media profile, so that instead of your image, your friends and followers will see only a black background with a faint grey "x."
For instance, here's what people would see as the cover image if they landed on your Facebook timeline:
On the End It site, they say they're "Disappearing on social media in honour of the 27 million men, women and children who've disappeared. Trapped in slavery. In brothels. In factories. In quarries. Working as slaves. In 161 countries. Including our own. WE JOIN THEM and quiet our voices on social media and our website."
For some insights into modern slavery around the world, here are a couple of sites that are well worth checking out.
First up: CNN's Freedom Project. Like the End It project, this site is dedicated to "ending modern-day slavery," and it also features regular updates on stories and opinion pieces pertaining to slavery.
The site's been up and running since March 4, 2011. That day, Tony Maddox, the Executive VP and Managing Director of CNN International, published a piece about why the news network decided to create the site.
"You know that moment when you read something, and then immediately have to re-read it because you cannot believe it is true?" he wrote. "That happened to me when I read that the levels of slavery and people trafficking today are greater than at any point in history."
He goes on to discuss the importance of getting governments involved in the fight against slavery, and pledges that CNN will work with many of End It's partner organizations and others to help end slavery.
Another excellent recent resource on modern slavery is Al-Jazeera's series "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil." With televised debates, articles, and in-depth reports, the site was designed to support the documentary series of the same name.
Both series and site delve into the many different types of forced labour and trafficking taking place around the world, with sections on prison slaves, sex slaves, food chain slaves, bridal slaves, and many others.
It's a thought-provoking look at the realities and implications of slavery today. There are also pieces about buying habits and their impact on slavery, and the cost of ending slavery in the modern world.
And just in case you think Canada is immune from human trafficking and slavery, check out this article about human smuggling and trafficking in this country.