Richmond professor Monti Datta is working to end modern-day slavery, shining a spotlight on its continuing presence and sowing the seeds of a worldwide abolitionist movement.
Human trafficking and slavery still exist all over the world in developing and developed countries alike. Datta first realized the extent of that truth while teaching in Japan, where he encountered a group of young girls forced into coercive contracts by organized criminal gangs.
On behalf of those held against their will, Datta began compiling research and analyzing trafficking data to understand the depth and patterns of its practice. He continues to create knowledge on the subject, interpret it, and share it as widely as possible because he feels a responsibility to drive understanding and urgency around the issue.
Datta also remains keenly aware that he now lives and teaches in what once was a hub of the American slave trade. He urges his students to confront that reality and acknowledge the work of reconciliation that still needs to be done.
He knows there’s no overnight solution to human trafficking. But through educating future generations of leaders and equipping others with the knowledge necessary to effect change, Datta stands steadfastly on the side of human rights.
Dr. Monti Datta is professor of political science in the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Richmond. His research spans foreign policy and American relations. He teaches courses and conducts research on human trafficking and modern-day slavery.