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Slave Trade

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


OBSERVING THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ABOLITION OF THE BRITISH SLAVE TRADE -- (House of Representatives - May 01, 2007)

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts), for introducing the bill before us, House Resolution 158, which observes the 200th anniversary of the end of the British slave trade and commends the heroic legacy of William Wilberforce, the outspoken British parliamentarian and Christian who was instrumental in its abolition.

The African slave trade was a heinous practice that inflicted degradation and misery on those millions of people whose human dignity it denied or destroyed.

In celebrating the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of the slave trade, we cannot help but reflect on the tragic fact that it took the United States another six decades and a wrenching Civil War to do the same, to begin living more fully according to the principles of our Founding Fathers.

I commend the author of this resolution, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts), for focusing on the challenges of the present day, in addition to the sins of the past.

Although the scourge of formalized slavery has been eliminated in the west and for much, but not all, of the rest of the world, millions of women, children and men suffer similar severe assaults on their dignity and liberty today as victims of trafficking, sexual servitude, and forced labor.

This resolution is a welcomed opportunity to publicly recommit ourselves to the protection of human dignity. In the words of the man whom we honor in our resolution, William Wilberforce, he said, ``Let us act with an energy suited to the importance of the interests for which we contend, stimulated by a consciousness of what we owe to the laws of God and the rights and happiness of man.''

Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts) be allowed to control the remainder of our time.

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