I received a forwarded e-mail from my cousin Katrina today (producer/director of Traces of the Trade) about a book that has just been published about modern-day slavery. The e-mail comes from the author, Benjamin Skinner:

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:35:21 -0400
Subject: Launching
A Crime So Monstrous

Friends, Collaborators,

As many of you know, I have spent four years on five continents in order to find and give voice to slaves, who are more numerous today than ever before. I’m now writing to ask for your help in the last leg of that journey.

A Crime So Monstrous goes on sale today. (At least the American and British editions do; German, Italian and other editions will follow next fall.) I wrote the book for people who love to read, but who wouldn’t ordinarily pick up a book about slavery. Actually, I wrote it even for those who, like me, don’t love to read but are fascinated by the human condition.

The stories are threaded like a novel, and none is simple. Slave traders sometimes showed me remorse as well as barbarity; slave liberators showed idiocy as well as courage; and sometimes, somehow, some slave men managed to regain their dignity, some slave women managed to trust men, and some slave children managed to be kids.

(Click here for a sample chapter)

In southern Sudan in 2003, the first survivor that I spoke with asked a question that I heard often thereafter: “Why does no one care about our slavery here?” One reason is that few know what slavery means.

My attempt to show the world what slavery means, and thus to spark action against it, is A Crime So Monstrous. When Uncle Tom’s Cabin became the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century, Abraham Lincoln called Harriet Beecher Stowe “the little lady who started this big war.”

We’ve had enough war; but we need a movement. This starts with you. Forward this email. Read the book. Write about the book. Talk about the book. Get angry. Shout about the crime until you’re hoarse. Then act with resolve to end it.

Please visit www.acrimesomonstrous.com. There you can read about the book and the cause. Then please consider buying a copy today-a spike in first-day sales will bring attention to the cause, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Free The Slaves and Anti-Slavery International, the American and British wings of the oldest human rights organization.

Thank you all for your support over these years. I owe you a drink.

This evening I found this story on NPR’s Day to Day about Skinner’s book. I wrote about modern day slavery in this blog back in November. I talk about it on my book tour. I’m going to buy this book and read it and I hope you will too. One of the misinformed comments I receive from time to time, and read about far too often, is that slavery is in the past. There’s no need to talk about this anymore. Let’s all just get over it.

It isn’t over.