Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day! In honor of this day, I decided to post ten different ways that we as individuals can help fight against human trafficking. Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. Human trafficking strips victims of their freedom and their basic human rights. It is also a crime. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, there is an estimated 35.8 million people who are trapped in slavery world wide.
When I first found out about human trafficking, I was overwhelmed. There is this great injustice going on in the world and what could I do to stop it? Is there anything that I can do? Will anything that I do even make a dent in this global problem? There are several things you can do as an individual that will help with the fight for justice. Small things done in great love make a difference!
1. Educate yourself.
Start researching the topic. See what you find. Learn about what is really going on in the world. Are there really still slaves? How many? Where are they? Is this happening where I live? What is my government doing to stop it? Ask the questions. Find the answers. Throughout this post you can find several different places to start
2. Raise awareness.
Once you have started educating yourself, tell others about the injustice that you have learned about. A problem cannot be solved unless it is known. Talk to you friends! Start the discussion. There are lots of ways you can raise awareness on a topic that is often left in the dark. Host a documentary showing on the topic of human trafficking. Read a book like the Locust Effect or Disposable People (it’s better if you do this with others and then discuss it together!). Social media is a great way to spread awareness and get people talking.
Advocating is a little different than awareness raising, but they both can overlap. Advocating is being the voice for millions who do not have one. It is promoting certain actions to be taken. It is asking your governmental leaders to lead the fight for freedom as well. It is signing petitions and asking those in higher places than you to act. International Justice Mission has a page on advocating and different ways you can be an advocate for those trapped in slavery. Walk Free has several petitions that you can sign. You can join their mailing list and get email notifications about their different campaigns and how you can help.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”– Romans 12:12.
The work of justice always begins with prayer. You can become a prayer partner with IJM. They will send you updates and let you know what they need prayer for. It's also not too late to sign up for Freedom Firm's 30 day prayer challenge which is a part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Every investigation, rescue operation, lawyer, aftercare package, and freedom training takes funding. There are many wonderful organizations who fight human trafficking. I personally give to International Justice Mission, but I encourage you to research and find where your heart is.
6. Join an anti-trafficking organization.
Join an organization in your community or school that is working to eradicate or prevent human trafficking. IJM has campus chapters you can be a part of! Check it out to see if there is one near you! If you check out the Freedom Commons, you can see what is going on in your state when it comes to advocacy and join others in the fight!
There are many local organizations that are in the fight against modern day slavery. Volunteer with them! It may just be helping organize their closets – but you will be helping them in any small way you can. If you don’t know of one near you, comment here and I will try to find the closest one to you (if I can!)
8. Be A Conscious Consumer.
Do you know where your clothing was made? Do you know who grew your banana you had for breakfast? Was that person treated with respect? Were they paid well? Many of the products that we use today are products of modern day slavery. How do we know? We don’t really. Many companies are not clear on where their goods come from or how they outsource. Purchase from companies and organizations that are socially responsible, know how their products are made, and care about their employees. The best way to do this is to buy fair trade products. For food, start with the farmer’s market. For clothing start with Elegantees, Sevenly, TOMS or from any of the Made in A Free World companies.
Do you have a company that you love to buy from, but you aren’t sure about their policies when it comes to forced labor? If you aren’t sure what they are doing to make sure that their products aren’t being made by slaves and you can’t find the information on their website, send them a letter. You can do that on your own or through either Chain Store Reaction or Made in A Free World.
9. Stop the Demand.
When it comes to sex trafficking, it exists because there is a demand for sex. If people would stop buying others for sex, the industry wouldn’t make money and traffickers wouldn’t have a reason to be in business. Prostitution is linked to trafficking. Porn is linked to trafficking. Many “porn stars” are trafficking victims. We don’t know how closely porn is linked to trafficking, but we know that there are several cases and stories from survivors of the industry telling us that they are.
10. Know the Signs
Know the signs of someone who is being trafficked. There is a library of resources here. Human trafficking happens here in the U.S., in our own backyards. If you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation call the toll-free 24/7 hotline: 1-888-373-7888. There's more info about how to report and what you should be looking for here.
These are just a few ways you can join the fight against modern day slavery. Do you have anything to add to my list? What are some things you have done to help those who are trapped? Share them in the comments below!