Understanding Modern Day Slavery

photo (69)“I walked into work with 66 bananas. Why? Because the night before, the team of people I was working with at a non-profit called Guria had rescued 66 people from slavery in a brick kiln, and we were hosting them at our office.”  These are the words of Hamlin Alumna and current Princeton student, Chase Hommeyer. Last year Hommeyer (then volunteering in India on a GAP year), reconnected with her former teacher Heather Smith and enlisted her help in ending modern day slavery that plagues many countries. CNN has reported that 35.8 million people are currently enslaved in the world. Smith heard the call, and has taken on the important task of teaching about modern day slavery to her 6th grade Social Studies students.

Smith takes a methodical approach to her pedagogy.  She has her students:

-Gain an understanding of historical slavery in the United States

-Learn about the 13th amendment

-Learn about human trafficking today

-Look at primary source case studies

-Learn about who is most vulnerable to be trafficked

-Learn about what is being done to combat trafficking

-Discuss child labor/kidnapping in the chocolate industry

-Write letters on the topic to other classes in the California towns of Los Altos and Oakland

A key component of this work is interdisciplinary.  Smith’s students work with Hamlin art teacher, Maggie Jo Feldman to create artistic pieces that speak out against human trafficking, and raise awareness of this global issue (the drawing above is an example). The artwork is then displayed online as part of Guria’s art exhibit.  Participating schools include Head Royce, Lick Wilmerding, and Middlebury College, among others.

This is our second year doing in this important work, to read about the project from last year, please visit:


To learn more about Guria and view the online art gallery starting March 4th, please visit:


Watch the video below to hear what a Hamlin student learned about human trafficking:

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