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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Announces New Website Honoring Modern Day Abolitionists

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) and the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office announced today a new Heroes website, the TIP Global Heroes Network, that will raise public awareness of modern slavery. This new and comprehensive site, whose launch coincides with Human Trafficking Awareness Month, will help aspiring modern abolitionists connect with and gain access to the work of past and present Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) Heroes, who are established anti-trafficking leaders around the world.

The new project is the result of an ongoing relationship between NURFC and the US Department of State TIP office and is the second award the NURFC has received since 2011. The partnership began several years ago with the development of the Journey to Freedom documentary, which juxtaposes the parallel stories of two men sold into slavery—one from New York in 1841 and one from Cambodia in 2006—against a backdrop of the network of individuals then and now, who play similar roles in bringing the enslaved to freedom. Since the documentary premiered in Washington, DC, in 2012, it has been shown at more than 50 US Embassies worldwide as a tool for education and conversation about human trafficking.

This past December, Brooke Hathaway, Mariah Acord and Caleb Benadum of the NURFC and End Slavery Now traveled to Eastern Europe to visit and document the stories of heroic anti-trafficking leaders in Lithuania, Romania and Greece. The information they gathered during their tour will be added to the collection of compelling documents and images on the new site that will raise public awareness of modern slavery, connect Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) Heroes and inspire global activism.

“We are inspired by the courageous work that the TIP Heroes are doing in their home countries and communities to address and combat the global problem of modern slavery,” said Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “The new website will be a wonderful tool for advocates of freedom around the world—equipping modern abolitionists with agencies, people and resources that will aid in our shared goal of eradicating modern slavery.”

The goals of the new website are three-fold:

To launch a virtual global network to connect anti-trafficking leaders around the world and raise public awareness;
To publicize anti-trafficking leaders’ work in the United States and their home-countries; and
To inspire global activism, among the Heroes, other trafficking leaders, and new abolitionists.

The website will also feature a Best Practices Library uploaded by the TIP Heroes. This library will be a resource for abolitionist organizations and individuals as they draw upon the experiences of the Heroes and apply this shared knowledge in the global fight for freedom.

In addition to the launch of the website, the NURFC will host a public program at 4 p.m. in the Grand Hall with Sen. Portman, discussing current U.S. efforts in creating legislation that prosecutes traffickers.

“We’re honored to partner with Sen. Portman in launch of the latest phase of the TIP Heroes website” Dr. Newsome said, “his early support in the founding of the Freedom Center and his current efforts to end human trafficking are a testament to his strong commitment to freedom.”

Sen. Portman has been a supporter of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and its commitment to connecting the public with tools to combat human trafficking. “The fight against human trafficking is the human rights cause of our time, but working together-from community and faith-based organizations all the way to Capitol Hill-it is a fight we can win,” said Portman. “I am honored to work with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to not only remember the past, but also address the challenges of today in the hope of a better future.”

For more information, visit the TIP website at