One man rescued thousands of women from modern slavery — and now he’s receiving a prestigious award, according to the Times of India.
Hussein Al Qaidi, director of the Office of Rescue of Yazidis, will be honored at the 15th annual Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice on Nov. 3 in Mumbai. Al Qaidi helped 5,000 Yazidi women escape from ISIS fighters, who have carried out mass persecution and genocide of the Yazidi religious and ethnic minority who reside in Northern Iraq since 2014. More than 400,000 Yazidis are living in displacement camps and hundreds remain missing.
The award ceremony is part of the Harmony Foundation’s annual social justice conference that celebrates the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa dedicated her life to creating hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, health centers, and homeless shelters around the world.
This year’s conference, which focuses on the theme Combating Contemporary Forms of Slavery, “will help to explore durable means of abolishing modern-day slave practices like bonded labor, child labor, sex trafficking and prostitution, children exploited for commercial sex, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.”
Al Qaidi will be in good company at the ceremony. Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and humanitarian Ajeet Singh are both being honored alongside him for their efforts to stop human trafficking.
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About 45.8 million people around the world are trapped in modern slavery, and India has more modern slaves than any other country in the world. Poverty, lack of education, and living in crisis or conflict all drive modern slavery, which disproportionately affects women and girls.
Advocates like Al Quidi can’t stop this form of abuse and exploitation alone. Countries need to push for policies that prevent slavery, and international institutions and the private sector must be held accountable, the organization Anti-Slavery International says. Investing in research that brings modern slavery to light will else help stop these human rights abuses.