This article suggests that historians have much more to offer in the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking. It argues that the modern-day abolitionist movement should reorient its approach in the fight against slavery, as it tends to rely on a sanitized, unproblematic, rendering of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century abolitionist movement while simultaneously side-stepping discussions about the impact of global neo-liberal economic order. The article advances the notion of critical applied history which provides a methodological framework that can facilitate discussions about the role of power, historicity, and memory in shaping present-day abolitionist discourses.