Freedom Center Journal


Brooke Hathaway


The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a hybrid: one part history musemn and one part non-governmental organization (NGO). An early internal report by the Freedom Center clarified that the focus of contemporary efforts should be on "Unfreedom." The report defined Unfreedom as the conditions subjecting an individual to constraints on her/his personal wellbeing, free action, and/or thought, imposed by an outside power, and enforced by the threat of physical harm (tacit or explicit). There are six root causes of Unfreedom: poverty, poor healthcare, lack of education, prejudice, oppression, and conflict. These root causes are the basis for four major types of Un.freedom: chattel slavery, debt bondage, labor exploitation and civil subjugation. Consequently, the Freedom Center identified a critical need within the antislavery field, and the first strategic initiative was born. A focused, intentional antislavery and anti-hwnan trafficking initiative emerged.