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Survivor of human trafficking to speak at Loyola for Freedom Week 2012

| By Nick Alexopulos

Loyola University Maryland welcomes human trafficking survivor and non-profit founder James Kofi Annan as a guest speaker for Freedom Week 2012. The event is free and open to the public and will take place Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. in the 4th Floor Program Room in the Andrew White Student Center on Loyola’s North Charles Street Campus.

Annan’s presentation will describe his life as a child slave and the astounding changes he has witnessed through his work in abolition. He will also present countless ways for students, businesses, organizations, and other individuals to take action to end child slavery.

Annan is an internationally recognized leader in the movement against slavery. He is the founder and executive director of Challenging Heights, an organization based in Ghana that helps provide education for children who have returned from slavery and child labor. A survivor of child trafficking, Annan did not begin learning to read or write until he liberated himself at age 13. He later graduated from college and became a manager at Barclays Bank of Ghana. He left that job in 2007 to devote his full attention to Challenging Heights, which he initially funded with his personal earnings. He is the recipient of the Free the Slaves Frederick Douglass Award and the Young Innovator for Social Justice Award, and has made appearances at TEDx and on CNN.

This event is sponsored by Loyola’s chapter of Free the Slaves and is dedicated to raising awareness about modern day slavery and human trafficking. Free the Slaves is a Washington-based NGO that aims to liberate communities around the world from slavery. Loyola students started a chapter of Free the Slaves in early 2011 and were asked to become an official college chapter last summer after raising $4,000 for the “Free a Village: Jesuit School Challenge.”

Other events during Freedom Week 2012 include a Mass at 12:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and a “fish pong” fundraiser in the Boulder atrium from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. An information table will be set up in the Boulder atrium during those hours Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Loyola Free the Slaves officers will also hand out ribbons at the men’s basketball versus Iona game Friday night.

For more information on this event and other Freedom Week 2012 events, please contact Amanda Ismail, ’13, president of Loyola’s chapter of Free the Slaves, at asismail@loyola.edu.

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