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Children at Local Passover Seder Fight Modern-Day Slavery

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Students of Binghamton's Hillel Academy took part in a model Seder today, or Passover ceremony, with the emphasis on freedom. Their Rabbi, Rabbi Shmaryahu thought the holiday of Passover was the perfect occasion to bring awareness to the pervasiveness of modern-day slavery in the 21st century.

The group has been in touch with Bilal, a child slave in the African country of Mauritania, and the students shared the plight of the child with younger children in the room.

"My name is Bilal," said Max Titus from the podium. "Every morning before dawn I wake up to daily work, eat these stale scraps of food left by my master. "

Continued Sarah Golding, "Bilal's work is not free. At every station they pay him, but the money will pass into his master's hands."

Menachem Mendel Chen put it all together with an alarming thought, "The description you have just heard is not taken from an ancient text describing the condition of slavery somewhere in the middle ages. This is an up-to-date description of the reality currently taking place in the state of Mauritania in West Africa ."

The group sang the songs of Pessach and participated in the traditional Seder with Bilal's picture for all the see and remember.

An estimated 45 million people are enslaved worldwide today, according to the Walk Free Foundation, a human rights organization.