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Former Child Slave: "Do Something!"

Simon Deng
The past is too painfully vivid for Simon Deng to forget. A native of southern Sudan, Deng was robbed of his childhood at age nine when he was abducted by a northern Sudanese Arab who showed him a picture of a man with his hands and feet cut off. “If you complain,” warned Deng’s captor, “this is what will happen to you.” After two years of enslavement during which he slept on straw, ate scraps, and was beaten frequently, Deng managed to escape.

Despite the impossible odds under which he had lived, Deng later became a messenger in the Sudanese parliament and even a national swimming champion. Now 44 and a U.S. citizen, Deng spoke at IC this spring about his past and his efforts to help end the brutal practices of slavery and genocide in Sudan and elsewhere.

Deng has given impassioned speeches at the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and numerous American universities. “Villages are still being burned, women are still being raped, and people are still being sold into slavery,” he says. “We Americans must act—and act now.”

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