Portraits: Sudanese Freed Slaves

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Words of a Former Slave Turned Activist
A former slave turned activist in the United States says there are terrorists in the government of Sudan who oppose him and his efforts to free slaves there, but he cannot stop his work because of what he's seen in the eyes of the people.

"It is not easy to be there to see these people, to look into their eyes, and see they are terrified," Simon Deng during an exclusive interview about his recent humanitarian mission to the Darfur region in Sudan. "These are people who never have had something called freedom. They don't know how to say no to anything. All they know is fear and threats, fear that they will be abused." Someone, he said, has to be the "voice for the voiceless" and because he experienced slavery as a child, and escaped, he knows exactly how the people are suffering.

Deng recently returned from Sudan, where he and officials from Christian Solidarity International facilitated the freeing of about 250 slaves. These were people - mostly Christian - who had been taken captive during the region's recent civil war by northern Sudanese who are Muslim, and had continued in the servitude even after the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was signed among the region's various factions. Tens of thousands of slaves still remain in the Sudan and must be freed.

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