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Former Child Slave, Modern Day Abolitionist
Francis Buk is a native of southern Sudan. At the age of seven, he was captured and enslaved during an Arab militia raid on the village of Nymlal (outside Aweil) on May 15, 1986. Buk saw adults and children brutalized and killed all around him. He was strapped to a donkey and taken north to Kirio. Read More >
For ten years, he lived as the family slave to Giema Abdullah, forced to sleep with cattle, endure daily beatings, and eat terrible food. Always called “abeed” (black slave), Buk was given an Arabic name – Dut Giema Abdullah – and forced to perform Islamic prayers.
In December of 1996, Buk escaped to the nearby town of Matari, where he was enslaved by local policemen for two months. But an Arab truck driver helped Buk escape and eventually to reach Khartoum, the capital. In Khartoum, Buk was arrested by the security forces and jailed for seven months. After being released, Buk escaped to Cairo. In 1999, the United Nations resettled him in North Dakota. Buk is now an associate at the American Anti-Slavery Group in Boston.
On May 23, 2000, Buk spoke out for the first time at a Capitol Hill ceremony with Senators and Congressmen, sharing his message: “We cannot rest until my people are free.” On September 18, 2000, Buk spoke alongside Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at the Boston Freedom Award ceremony.
On September 28, 2000, Buk became the first escaped slave to testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in hearings on Sudan that were broadcast live on C-Span. Later that day, Buk met with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and urged her to take action against slavery. On December 4, 2000, he headlined a panel discussion on slavery at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Buk has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and dozens of other newspapers, and has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, including BET, FOXNews, and CNN.
On April 28, 2001, Buk launched the website iAbolish.com, of the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group. He has been honored by the Boston Celtics as a “Hero Among Us” for community service, and in December 2001 he carried the Winter Olympic Torch on its national relay tour. Buk's autobiography is entitled Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity – and My Journey to Freedom in America. Today, he is also active in the local Sudan Sunrise, a group that works to facilitate reconciliation throughout Sudan.
When Buk speaks, he tells the story of his life in captivity and in freedom. In addition, he explains the failure of the human rights community to help African slaves today and recruits listeners to join in the cause of emancipation. Read Less ^
The Modern Abolitionist
Story of an Escaped Slave from Sudan
Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
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