Author Archives: Survivors of Slavery

About Survivors of Slavery

A non-profit organization that connects survivors of modern slavery with community groups, schools and universities, and places of worship. This site is maintained by Laura Murphy, a professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans and College Chapter Coordinator for Free the Slaves.

White House Convening on Human Trafficking with Evelyn Chumbow

On Monday, September 16th, Evelyn Chumbow attended the “Taking Action to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery” event at the White House. Chumbow, along with other civil society leaders met to discuss how organizations can become involved with ending human trafficking. Chumbow planned to serve as a action track leader for the break out group on empowering and supporting survivors. A recent report completed by the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships influenced the development for this event. The report can be viewed here:

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Evelyn Chumbow featured on Global Humanitarian Photojournalists Blog

From slavery to college educated and motivational speaker.

by Jacob Foko

She is originally from Cameroon. She is a survivor. She was a slave, a victim of human trafficking. She experienced slavery not in Cameroon, but in the United States, only 30 miles from our nation’s capitol.

At age 9 as she says on CNN on June 23, 2011, she came to the United States.

Evelyn Chumbow, a 26-year-old, full-time student at the University of Baltimore is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in community studies and civic engagement.

In November 1995, Evelyn was brought to this country by Ms. Theresa Mubang, a rich woman who proposed to the Chumbow family that she would adopt Evelyn and provide her a great education and a better life. Unfortunately, Ms. Mubang’s promises were empty. Instead Chumbow was abused.

“When I came To this country, I had a two-week break relaxing but right away I had to learn how to cook, and clean, changing diapers. I did not know how to cook, taking care of kids, they were a lot of things that my Traficant asked me to do that I did not know” says Chumbow.  She was beaten. She did not go to school from the age of 9 until the age of 19: “The dream that my parents have for me, to be a lawyer or a doctor, did not work. When I was in Cameroon I was always saying that at the age of 25, I will have a degree, I will have a husband and two kids. I think that “Never plan your life. Always have a goal.”


Read more here.

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Shamere McKenzie works as policy assistant at Shared Hope International

Shamere recently moved one step closer to her dream of becoming an human trafficking attorney — she was promoted to policy assistant at Shared Hope International.

Read more about it in a blog post entitled “Unavoidable Destiny.”

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Four letters that protect kids in Ghana: CCPC

Read a Free the Slaves blog post celebrating the community building work of James Kofi Annan and Challenging Heights.

Four letters that protect kids in Ghana: CCPC.

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Shamere McKenzie on VA news

On May 31, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell signed legislation to combat human trafficking and provide protection for the victims of trafficking so that they are not convicted of crimes they were forced to commit. Survivors of Slavery speaker Shamere McKenzie tells reporters that trafficking cannot be tolerated.

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Shamere McKenzie addresses National Association of Attorneys General

from National Association of Attorneys General website:


McKenna announces presidential initiative against modern-day slavery

June 23, 2011

CHICAGO—Attorney General Rob McKenna announced his 2011-2012 presidential initiative to combat human trafficking nationwide at a June 23 launch event in Chicago following his installation as president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

Flanked by members of his hand-picked leadership council, McKenna led a panel discussion on the “Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite against Human Trafficking,” focusing on four “pillars” or goals in the fight against human trafficking.

McKenna discussed the importance of national leadership in identifying victims of human trafficking and providing them the hope and services they need to escape their current situations. He also stressed the importance of identifying, tracking and holding accountable those who traffic in humans and those who purchase their services.

“Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry driven by trafficking profit. It’s the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world, tied with arms and after drug dealing,” McKenna said. “Yet for many this heinous crime lurks in the shadows. It’s time to bring it out into the light, to bring hope and resources to victims and to bring justice to traffickers and those who buy victims from them.”

Additional panelists included:

  • North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, 2010-11 NAAG President;
  • Ken Thompson, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Legal Officer, LexisNexis Legal & Professional;
  • Massachusetts Attorney Martha Coakley, Leadership Council;
  • Alice Hill, Sr. Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security;
  • Mary Anderson, Senior Advisor to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Leadership Council;
  • Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Leadership Council; and
  • Shamere McKenzie, a youth survivor and advocate.

The presidential initiative will also focus on:

  • Holding traffickers and abusers accountable;
  • Mobilizing communities to provide hope and care for victims; and
  • Raising public awareness and reducing demand.

Video of the panel discussion will be posted on the NAAG Web site by 4 p.m. Central Time.

The presidential initiative is a year-long commitment by the NAAG President to bring the resources of his presidency to a specific national problem, culminating in Presidential Summit in Seattle in March.

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James Kofi Annan Accepts 2011 Grinnell Young Innovators for Social Justice Award

Survivors of Slavery speaker James Kofi Annan was recently awarded the Grinnell Young Innovators Social Justice Award for his work with youth in Ghana who are affected by slavery in the fishing industry.   Grinnell honored Annan’s work to eradicate slavery and the worst forms of child labor in coastal Ghana.  The award is given each year to a social innovator under 40 years old who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change.

The prize honors up to three individuals. Each prize carries an award of $100,000, half to the winning individual and half to an organization committed to the winner’s area of social justice, for a total of up to $300,000 in prize awards. The inauguration of Grinnell College’s 13th president Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D marks a transition point for the college. The prize commemorates the occasion and celebrates Grinnell’s historical and future commitment to positive social change.

(from the Grinnell College website)

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