A Cornucopia of Ways to Get Involved in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted: November 24, 2015 in Getting Involved
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As the holidays near, something stirs inside us that causes us to want to make the world better. We donate canned food to the school’s food drive, we hang cheerful decorations in front of our house to bring joy to others, or we write that extra large check to the charity we feel the most connection to.

 

The “something” that drives me to get involved, and maybe you as well, is the horror of human trafficking.

 

When I first became involved in human trafficking, I didn’t know how I could help. Then a dear friend of mine, a published author and fellow blogger, told me I have a talent for writing. I had never really written anything before and frankly didn’t believe her.

 

Nevertheless, through some twist of fate, I became a social media coordinator for our human trafficking awareness group, where I spend every day writing about human trafficking.

 

I discovered a hidden talent that I didn’t even know was there.

 

Until human trafficking and modern-day slavery are eradicated completely, organizations will continue to need volunteers and survivors will continue to need assistance.

 

That is where you come in.

 

Below is a list of 44 things you can do to become involved in the fight against human trafficking. Some are simple, easy suggestions that you can complete from the comfort of your home. Others are suggestions if you want to make more of a longer commitment.

 

Read through the list and find a way you can make a difference in 2016. Maybe you’ll discover something about yourself as well.

 

Online Activism

 

  • Sign a petition or start one of your own. The site www.change.org has several active petitions regarding human trafficking. Check out the website for more information.
  • Follow the Stop Human Trafficking Action Group on Facebook and Twitter. Share posts and retweet on your own pages.
  • Say “No” to pornography. Refuse to download, view or share pornographic or risqué videos, pictures, and literature.
  • Visit www.slaveryfootprint.org and learn about how your purchasing habits affect labor and child trafficking around the world. At the end of the survey, you can email companies and request they no longer use child labor or slave labor in their products lines.
  • Start a blog about human trafficking. Make it personal or factual. The goal is to get people talking.
  • Email a link to this blog post to everyone in your address book.

 

Take Action

 

  • Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (1-888-3737-888) in your cell phone and write it down next to your landline. If you suspect someone may be a victim, call the number and speak to a representative, who will help you.
  • Write a letter to your local paper or community publication about human trafficking in your area.
  • Pray. Prayer is the strongest weapon in our arsenal. Pray for organizations, activists, victims, and survivors.
  • Provide transportation for survivors to attend doctor’s appointments, classes, etc. Inquire at your local human trafficking task force for more information.
  • Purchase fair trade items as often as possible.
  • Make most of your home and clothing purchases from second-hand stores. This is better for the environment and reduces the demand for new products, therefore, reducing the demand for slave labor.
  • Be aware of possible victims when traveling through airports, truck stops, and bus stations. Be vigilant and keep that national hotline number with you. 1-888-3737-888

 

Educate Yourself

 

  • Learn the signs of a trafficked person and keep vigilant for potential victims.
  • Attend a human trafficking awareness event in your local area. Search “human trafficking events” to locate one in your area.
  • Talk to law enforcement or your local government official about gaps in services for human trafficking survivors or how you can help their efforts to combat human trafficking.
  • Educate yourself about this issue by reading:
    • Renting Lacey by Linda Smith
    • Not For Sale by David Batstone
    • Priceless by Tom Davis
    • Terrify No More by Gary Haugen and Gregg Hunter
    • Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight by Stephanie Hepburn and Rita J. Simon
    • Trafficked: My Story of  Surviving, Escaping, and Transcending Abduction into Prostitution by Sophie Hayes
    • Start Something to End Trafficking by David Trotter

 

Prevention

 

  • Know who your Facebook friends are. Traffickers often use social media to lure victims into a life of slavery.
  • Do not accept a job offer without first checking the authenticity of the company. Research the company as well as the recruiter. Let others know about the job offer and only meet for an interview at the place of business (rather than at a mall or a park).
  • Become a foster parent. As children age-out of the foster care system, they become vulnerable to traffickers. Prevent this by giving a child a “forever home.”

 

Become an Activist

 

  • Distribute human trafficking awareness materials available from the Department of Health and Human Service or Department of Homeland Security.
  • Host a screening of a human trafficking documentary. CNN Freedom Project has several documentaries to choose from.
  • Join the group Men Standing Against Trafficking. Stand in silence on the 18th of each month in trafficking hot spots around Los Angeles to bring awareness about human trafficking. It’s a great way for men to get involved in the fight against trafficking.
  • Declare yourself an activist and be active in the fight against human trafficking.

 

For Parents

 

  • Encourage your local schools to include human trafficking awareness into their curriculum, such as A21 and iEmpathize.
  • Ask that local mall security be trained to identify trafficking victims as well as traffickers.
  • Share Net Smartz videos from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with your teens, tweens, and younger children.
  • Put a “Stop Human Trafficking” bumper sticker on your car.

 

For Students

 

  • Start a club on campus to raise awareness about human trafficking.
  • Do a research paper about human trafficking and present it to your class.
  • Show your support by wearing a “Stop Human Trafficking” t-shirt, baseball cap, or button. If you can’t find one you like online, make your own.
  • Be aware of your fellow classmates. Studies show that there is at least one homeless child in every high school class. Homeless youth are at a greater risk of falling victim to a trafficker.
  • Invite a speaker to talk at your next assembly. A list of available speakers can be found at www.throughGodsgrace.com
  • Have a bake sale and donate the proceeds to Children of the Night.
  • Host a t-shirt decorating contest. Contestants can decorate their shirt to resemble how they can fight human trafficking while bringing awareness to the community.
  • Make a video about the dangers of human trafficking and put it on YouTube.
  • Hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of all the trafficking victims still in bondage. January 11 is National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.

 

Support a Survivor

 

  • Purchase items made by human trafficking survivors. Give a gift to a loved one while helping someone better their life.
  • Teach a class in banking, cooking, sewing, or ESL to survivors of human trafficking. Contact the Salvation Army for more information.

 

Do Something!

 

Whether you choose to do one thing or several, the worst thing you can do is NOTHING.

 

We are surrounded by human trafficking.

 

“You don’t have to live in the slums of Thailand to be a stone’s throw away from a trafficker or trafficking-enabler or trafficking client. These individuals work with you, live on your street and sit next to you in church. You know them. Maybe you are one of them. A sex trafficking client. A user of pornography,” writes blogger Heidi Carlson.

 

Educate yourself and everyone you meet. We need to bring this issue out into the light. Traffickers can hide no more.

 

* * *

 

Learning about human trafficking awakened in me a desire to fight for victims exploited by greed, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to bring awareness about slavery.

 

Maybe you’ve always had a desire to be a foster/adoptive parent but were afraid. Use this opportunity to learn more about it. It’s not as scary as you may think.

 

Or maybe you like starting new things but burn out quickly and lose momentum. Partner with a friend or an established organization to help keep you on track.

 

The goal is to do something. If everyone did one thing human trafficking would only be something we read about in our history books. Choose your one thing.

 

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