By Melissa Jane Kronfeld & Megan Legband–
Duncan Jepson has a successful career in law, journalism, finance and publishing. And now he has turned this wealth of experience towards fighting the enslavement of human beings. Born in Sheffield, United Kingdom, Duncan is the founder and director of Liberty Asia, an organization dedicated to prevent human trafficking across the continent, and of Project Share, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing social mobility of young people living in the disadvantaged areas of Hong Kong.
A self-proclaimed sticker fan, Duncan is passionate about the arts and is an award-winning producer, writer and director of five feature films. He has also written three novels. His graphic novel, Darkness Outside the Night, with the renowned Chinese illustrator Xie Peng, was highly acclaimed by Nobel Laureate and novelist, Mo Yan.
Duncan’s diverse pursuits and talents fuel his passion for telling the stories of hardship that many Asians face in the interconnected realms of politics, poverty, and slavery.
Check out what happened when we caught up with Duncan to talk about the fight to #EndSlaveryNow!
What is one fact that every person should know about slavery?
Slavery needs people, products, services and money to occur. Take out one of these and it starts to fail.
How did you first learn about modern slavery & what did you decide to do about it?
If you spent any time in Asia during the 1970s and 1980s, as the economies grew from post-war and revolution to the prosperous places they mostly are today, then you knew; it was all around.
But I first learned about the details in Afghanistan. A young man who was helping me support an NGO told me of his travels to Peshawar, a place I knew, as I had visited in the late 1980s, to find children who had been trafficked. He described the sadness and horror of finding the bodies of children whose organs had been harvested for sale.
What is the most critical obstacle preventing us from having a slave free world?
People’s behavior. We all need to understand the extent of our obligations to each other and fulfill those as seriously as we expect and demand the assertion of our rights.
What is the most important lesson you have learned while fighting for freedom?
People can be very reluctant to recognize they need to change and very, very slow to make the change even when it is obvious they should or they must… and I’m thinking primarily of myself!
Why do you believe the Millennial generation will be the one that can end slavery?
No. This is a problem that may be solved in several generations, perhaps at a time when there is an inclusive global society and the people have embraced hyper-transparency and its consequences.
What does a slave free world look like to Duncan Jepson?
A civilized world where each of us understands and accepts the complex and far-reaching arrangement of the obligations we each have to others and to the future and are completely prepared to fulfill those obligations without hesitation. I don’t think we’re quite there yet!
What is one thing every reader can start doing right now to help end slavery?
We all need to think a little more carefully about what we’re doing (and saying), and the consequences of those actions.
Profiles In Abolition is an in-depth look at the influencers, innovators & thought leaders in the modern anti-slavery movement. An accompaniment to Millennial Magazine’s ongoing 10-part series exposing modern slavery – a project of the Nexus Global Youth Summit (catch up with Part One, Part Two & Part Three) – Profiles In Abolition will examine a diverse & inspiring array of advocates whose critical voice must be heard.
Want to learn more from the world’s leading luminaries in the fight to #EndSlaveryNow? Sign up for the Nexus Anti-Slavery Speaker Series, a weekly conference call with the men and women on the front lines of the modern abolition movement! This call is open to the public and everyone is welcome to listen in! Click here to register for free. Then learn more about modern slavery by following Nexus on Twitter, Instagram & Millennial Magazine!