The Abolition Institute is a Chicago-based organization that partners with London-based Anti-Slavery International - the world’s oldest international human rights organization - to fight modern slavery around the world. Each year, the organization hosts an annual award in the name of Aichana Abeid Boilil, the first woman rescued from slavery in Mauritania by the groups partner organization SOS Esclaves. This year the award honored Congresswoman Schakowsky and Kofi Boateng and Sena Amenu of WGHC Radio. The ceremony was held at Loyola University on February 21st from one to three thirty.
Congresswoman Schakowsky was honored for her tireless work in raising awareness in Congress of slavery in Mauritania and the plight of black Mauritanians in the US being deported back to the oppressive system they escaped from. The Congresswoman joined historic bipartisan efforts to fund State Department anti-slavery programs in Mauritania and its region which are helping people transition to freedom.
Kofi Boateng and Sena Amenu lead WGHC radio in Chicago which provides a unique and innovative platform for discussion of issues facing Africa and the African immigrant community. Heard by listeners throughout Africa through their online programming, WGHC has shined a spotlight on slavery in Mauritania and other critical human rights issues. Never afraid to tackle tough issues – locally or internationally – WGHC has educated listeners about important struggles for human dignity and freedom.
"Too many people remain unaware of how many individuals are enslaved in Africa," said Sean Tenner, Co-founder of the Abolition Institute. " Our honorees have worked tirelessly to advance our important mission to ensure the public remains informed and to work with key stakeholders to combat this crisis."
The Aichana Abeid Boilil Award honors recipients for their work raising awareness of modern slavery. The award is named for the first woman rescued from slavery by the Abolition Institute’s partner organization in Mauritania, West Africa. It also honors Illinois residents carrying on the anti-slavery legacy of the Land of Lincoln. Previous award winners include then Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon who granted official clemency to Illinois residents convicted for helping fugitive slaves escape to freedom prior to the civil war.
The Abolition Institute was inspired by a groundbreaking CNN report “Slavery’s Last Stronghold” documenting the horrors of race and descent based slavery in the West African nation of Mauritania. Mauritania did not criminalize slavery until 2007 and laws against the practice have seldom been enforced. Journalists, human rights advocates, United Nations officials and academic leaders have long documented the inhuman practice of slavery in Mauritania.