YES brings conversation on modern slavery to Puget Sound

Slavery is considered to be a thing of the past, but that’s not how ninth grader Allison Nasson felt when she began Youth Ending Slavery, more commonly known as YES. Currently a first year, Nasson has brought her mission to Puget Sound.

YES is a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., led by high school and college students.

“Our mission is to combat modern-day slavery by raising awareness about its prevalence in our world and empowering youth to be advocates for change,” the YES website says.

The YES site defines slavery as the following: “A relationship in which one person is controlled through violence, the threat of violence, or psychological coercion, has lost free will and free movement, is exploited economically and paid nothing beyond subsistence.”

In the fall of 2011, Nasson formed the Anti-Slavery Committee at her school, St. Mary’s Academy.  After an unfruitful attempt at organizing a walk to end slavery, Nasson nonetheless continued her mission.

The Anti-Slavery Committee evolved into the nonprofit organization YES in June 2012.

“I started YES in high school as a club, but my senior year we formed a Board of Directors and filled out the…paperwork to become an IRS-official nonprofit,” Nasson said.

Nasson has high hopes for YES on Puget Sound’s campus. She is currently going through the process to start her club, and is currently looking for students who would be interested in joining. YES is in need of a new board of directors.

“I am bringing YES to the UPS community because students are the key demographic we hope to reach,” Nasson said. “Not only do students have the passion to spread awareness about this issue to everyone, but we ourselves as the rising generation are also the ones who will determine what the world looks like in the future.”

YES spreads their message of awareness through a variety of portals. The mission as an organization is spread through speaking engagements, facilitating YES chapters, fundraising events and creating monthly newsletters. Current YES projects continue as awareness is raised for the cause.

“It is never easy to get people to give up their time, but I really see this chapter of YES as doing work that is absolutely essential, and therefore more than worth spending time on,” Nasson said.

On the YES website, seven different forms of modern-day slavery are defined.

The YES website is also filled with other information about modern slavery.

This information, while perhaps shocking, provides insight into the workings of slavery today. For example, the website states that since 2010, 58 percent of worldwide exploitation has been sexual in nature.

“We believe that educating youth about the existence of slavery is especially crucial, due to the fact that the rising generation has both the opportunity and the responsibility to create a world where unjust practices in the name of profit are not tolerated,” Nasson said.

For the month of October, YES is asking people to boycott the popular clothing store Forever21.

According to the YES website, the Forever21 brand received an overall D- score from Free2Work, based on its policies, transparency, monitoring and worker rights.

Nasson states her hopes for YES on their website, “I hope that YES…will continue to demonstrate to people of all ages that we can’t ignore injustice under the misconception that we are too young, or too few to make a difference,” Nasson said.

Nasson has expressed the need to educate people, especially students.  More can be found on the YES website at

On the website you can find links to their current project as well as resources to provide information on the topic of modern slavery.