Archive for the ‘Getting Involved’ Category

Resources

Posted: September 29, 2016 in Getting Involved
Tags: , , ,
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888
Art Therapy

Art 4 Healing
http://www.art4healing.org
949-367-1902

Career Training

Working Wardrobes
http://www.workingwardrobes.org
714-210-2460

Counseling

Casa De La Familia
http://www.casadelafamilia.org
714-667-5220
213-384-7449

Community Service Programs
http://www.cspinc.org

Curriculum

A21
http://www.a21.org

iEmpathize
http://www.iEmpathize.org

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence & Health Collective
http://www.211oc.org/DV
call:211
1-800-799-7233

Homelessness

Build Futures
http://www.buildfutures.org
714-907-7358

Robyne’s Nest
http://www.robynesnest.org
714-794-5149

Salvation Army
usw.salvationarmy.org (Western US)
http://www.salvationarmy.org (International)

Human Rights

Amnesty International
http://www.amnestyusa.org

Equality Now
http://www.equalitynow.org

Global Rights
http://www.globalrights.org

Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org

Human Trafficking

Forgotten Children, Inc.
http://www.forgottenchildreninc.org
1-800-445-1326

Human Trafficking Resource
http://www.humantrafficking.org

Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force
http://www.egovlink.com/ochumantrafficking

Operation Underground Railroad
http://www.OURrescue.org

Polaris Project
http://www.polarisproject.org

Law Enforcement

Department of Homeland Security
http://www.dhs.gov/humantrafficking

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
http://www.ice.gov/human-trafficking

Legal

International Justice Mission
http://www.ijm.org

Orange County Family Justice Center
714-765-1645

Made By Survivors

Purpose Jewelry
http://www.purposejewelry.org

Thistle Farms
http://www.thistlefarms.org

10,000 Villages
http://www.tenthousandvillages.com
626-229-9892

 Mentoring

Big Brothers Big Sisters
http://www.bigbroOC.org
714-619-7008

Missing Children

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
http://www.missingkids.org

Poverty

Heifer International
http://www.heifer.org

Sex Trafficking / Adult Entertainment Industry

Abeni
http://www.abeni.org
714-770-9167

Breaking Free
http://www.breakingfree.net

Courtney’s House
http://www.courtneyshouse.org

Fair Girls
http://www.fairgirls.org

Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS)
http://www.gems-girls.org

Run 2 Rescue
http://www.run2rescue.com

Volunteering

Just Serve
http://www.justserve.org

Youth Shelters

Casa Youth Shelter
http://www.casayouthshelter.org
1-800-914-2272

Children of the Night
http://www.childrenofthenight.org

Orangewood Children’s Home
http://www.orangewoodfoundation.org
714-935-7584

After months of planning and preparing, our survivor event was a complete success.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force along with the Community Services Program and Salvation Army, have events every month held especially for the survivors of human trafficking. These events range from life skills classes to fun events like our movie and pizza night.

As a way to help support the task force, they have asked local faith groups and churches to help plan and carry out these events to free up their financial resources for things like food and shelter for the survivors.

The Stop Human Trafficking Action Group with the support of St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, held a movie and pizza night. We featured the inspiring hit movie Seabiscuit and decorated with horse and racing-themed party decor.

After a filling meal of pizza and salad, we served popcorn and red licorice. The guests left with a little keepsake, too…homemade brownies and a horse-shaped cookie cutter.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who made this event a great success. We are already looking forward to next year’s movie night event.

 

 

Local Events

Posted: March 10, 2016 in Getting Involved, Volunteer
Tags:
 Men Standing Against Trafficking

“Human Trafficking is happening here in our own backyards.  As the men of Southern California, we’re not willing to let it continue.  Stand up for the voiceless.  Stand against the abusers. Stand together as protectors of the innocent. Stand. It’s that simple.”

They meet the 18th of each month at trafficking hotspots across LA and Orange County.

Together, they stand from 9 pm-10:18 pm.  One hour and 18 minutes of silent witness. Please arrive by 8:30p for a quick orientation and overview.

  • 8:00-8:30 Arrive, find parking, check in, sign banner & get event T-shirt (if desired)
  • 8:30 Quick orientation
  • 9:00-10:18 Stand at designated location
  • Walk back to cars and go home

50% of the proceeds will support local anti-trafficking efforts, 50% will support the regional fight.

Wear a white shirt and jeans to demonstrate your solidarity. While they prefer advanced RSVP’s for planning purposes you are welcome to just show up on the night of as well if you are able! Event t-shirts will be available for purchase at the event.

#timetocare

*event is open only to men 18 and over

register at http://www.care18.org/msat

A21 Walk For Freedom

The #WalkForFreedom is a collective effort to heighten awareness of modern-day slavery and raise funds to take us one step closer to ending human trafficking in our lifetime. The Walk For Freedom made its way around the world on October 17, shedding light on the 27 million men, women and children who are still in bondage. When we join forces in one single day, we not only catch the attention of our cities, but we combine our efforts to have a global impact.

The 3rd annual event will take place on October 15, 2016. Mark you calendar.

For more information or to find a walk near you, visit the A21 website.

http://www.a21.org/campaigns/content/walk-for-freedom/gl4ukp?permcode=gl4ukp

I met Meg a few year’s ago at a Christian Coalition meeting that brought organizations together who were involved in fighting human trafficking and its causes. When she told me she, herself, had been a trafficking survivor, I was admittedly shocked. I didn’t know how to act for fear of embarrassing or offending her, yet wanted to convey my compassion and understanding. Not sure if I succeeded.

Fast forward to six months ago and we’re both on an advisory council for our county’s human trafficking task force. I now get to learn from her experience regularly.

Meg is an amazing woman whom I have had the pleasure to get to know. She has a unique perspective having been a sex worker voluntarily, to being forced against her will, to having no other choice to make ends meet.

There are many misconceptions and a lack of understanding when it comes to sex trafficking and sex work. I will let Meg shed some light on the subject for you.

How did you become involved with the fight against human trafficking?

I like to think that the fight found me. In 2009, I’d already been out of the industry for about 8 years and had started to feel an incredible pull towards better understanding and re-connecting with the industry. At that time, I hadn’t yet realized that I’d been trafficked and was still unpacking and remembering things that had happened during that time. I knew that some of the things weren’t ‘right’, but didn’t yet understand that sex work (SW) and trafficking were different and opposite ends of the same spectrum – I was still processing through what were a variety of experiences within the same industry. I was just beginning to distinguish what was consensual, what was circumstantial and what was coerced/forced. At times, I loved my work as an escort. At others, I was just trying to survive and stay housed and fed, pay for my tuition, cover my bills, and buy my drugs. And then, there was also an overlap of time where I was simply trying to avoid being revealed as an SW, being beaten, or killed. Although the more reductive media-based narratives are often shared most, they often miss or water-down the reality of so many real lived experiences. Our lives and time in the industry are rarely as simple as it’s made out to be.

The more I learned about trafficking, the more I learned about myself. The more I learned about myself and my diverse time within the industry, the more I understood about the spectrum. I no longer felt comfortable blaming an entire industry for the trauma I had endured. I was able to shed the internalized stigma and shame I’d been carrying and really start healing. Eventually, that pull led me to realize that there was no organization based I Orange County that existed to serve those in the industry, and that’s where I felt God calling me to be. We’ve evolved over the last few years and I can’t wait to see how we continue to do that in ways that honor and reflect the needs of the SW and survivors we serve.

Abeni is an interesting name. Why did you choose it and what does it mean? Does the name have any personal significance to you?

I always smile when I think about our name because it holds and represents so much institutional memory. It’s deeply embedded in our story, so even though I feel like it may not wholly reflect who we are now, it reflects our journey and we find great value in that.

When we first launched, we existed to serve as a faith-based organization and so our name and its meaning directly reflects that … Abeni is my daughter’s middle name and is a Yoruban name meaning “girl prayed for” (or directly translated, “we asked for her, and behold, we got her”). Having had 3 boys already, we found out the fourth was a girl and we finally got to use this beautiful name that we’d been holding onto for years.

When it came to choosing a name for our organization, it seemed like the one that best captured who and what we were about at that time. Given how we’ve evolved and because we no longer function as a faith-based organization, we don’t necessarily think it captures all that we are or who we serve anymore. BUT, it’s part of our story and is always an opportunity to talk about the paradigm shifts and growth we’ve experienced, and I really love that!

What is Abeni’s main focus at this moment?

We are a small, volunteer-run org, so out of necessity we’ve had to intentionally focus our vision and hone our efforts. Developing and offering services to the most marginalized and criminalized within Orange County has increasingly become a priority, so expanding our harm reduction services has become the main focus.

Developing relevant resources and partnerships, connecting with Street-based/Survival/LGBTQ SW, partnering with our new needle exchange (ocnep.org), engaging in public and private advocacy, and lots and lots of harm reduction have been front and center for us.

Harm reduction recognizes the realities of where people are and what their needs are. It lovingly and without judgment helps keep people safe, reduce related risks, promotes health, and offers support while they’re there. I know my experiences in the industry would have looked so different had I had access to that kind of care, so developing services that reflect the needs of those we serve makes sense … Safe sex supplies, clean needle distribution, SW safety tips, Know-Your-Rights information, a collection of bad date information, relevant resourcing, SW safety plans, exit-strategy development, relational support, emergency relocations, etc.

On your website, abeni.org, it says that ‘Abeni exists to create a safe, confidential place for those working in the Orange County sex trades as well as those being domestically sex trafficked.’ Tell us about the decision to have Abeni focus on two seemingly different groups?

I think this is one of the most common misconceptions about the SW spectrum, so I’m really happy you’re asking about it. The idea that there are 2 distinct and different groups of people tends to leave a lot of people out discussion. It fails to recognize not only how the spectrum works, but how people can fall in different places on it during different times as their circumstances change.

While there is an immense difference between consensual SW and trafficking, they exist on the same spectrum and can both be experienced by someone depending on what happens in their life and time in the industry. My story and experience working the entire spectrum of sex work are examples of this, as are the stories of so many we know and serve.

Some people start out as victims, but choose (either willingly or based on their circumstances) to re-enter the industry. Some absolutely LOVE their work in the industry and choose to make it their lifelong profession. Some start out as consensual SW and, based on their agency or circumstances, find themselves being forced into SW (being trafficked). Some are engaging in SW or adult entertainment due to their circumstances or financial need. The idea that there is a black-and-white trafficking narrative is not only incredibly inaccurate but more importantly, can be very dangerous for those who need help because it can:

For people who don’t understand that not everyone is a victim and that not everyone has a choice, one of the best resources I can recommend is I Heart Sex Workers by Lia Claire Scholl.

One of the greatest things to remember is that no one is wearing a label when they’re working … So often we find law enforcement expecting those who are being arrested to be able to identify themselves as victims right away. That took me several years to do, so the notion that we expect people who are obviously working under hard circumstances, trying to survive, and stay safe is terrifying and terribly unjust to me.

In our current efforts, we are either assuming everyone is the criminal or everyone is the victim and neither of those approaches accurately recognizes the reality of those working or being exploited out there. We need to ask victims and SW WHY they don’t trust the system or service providers, then adjust our efforts and approaches to meet that reality. Asking people to walk away from their pimps, their support systems -healthy or not- and trust an entity who they have been targeted and potentially abused by is unrealistic. For those who do and find positive results, I’m incredibly grateful, but more often than not, the survivors and SW I talk to can’t bring themselves to do it. I believe we can learn from this and help develop new approaches and collaborations that take those concerns into account and work towards creating better options for those who need help.

You also state on your website that ‘We believe that those in the industry have the right to identify themselves in terms that best reflects their relationship with it.’ Could you give us a few examples?

It’s pretty simple. We believe that people have the right to identify themselves in ways that reflect their understanding of their own experiences. For example, my experiences were complex and varied, so I prefer to refer to myself as both an SW and survivor. Others prefer victim. Others lean toward reclaiming highly stigmatized terms such as ‘whore’ and ‘prostitute’ … All of this should and needs to be something the individual does, not society, movement, or organizations.

Self –identification can be incredibly empowering and can change depending on one’s understanding of their experiences. Respecting this honors the person and their experiences without injecting societal labels that further isolates, potentially hurts or endangers them. Society likes to label people and some of those labels limit, stigmatize, marginalize, and even criminalize them for life.

What are some of the reasons someone would choose to work in the sex industry? Is it a choice a man or woman actually has?

People enter the industry for all sorts of reasons and many of those reasons are impacted by how much agency or privilege someone has. Agency is essentially the capacity that a person has to exert power over or make choices in their own lives. All of these things can influence how and where someone lands up on that spectrum. Some of those factors include Socio-economic status, choice, race, gender, education, location, class, sexual or gender orientation, literacy/education, drug use, trauma/abuse, family history, housing, transportation, etc. They can all fluctuate greatly depending on many things and can change at different times in someone’s life.

One of Abeni’s philosophy beliefs is ‘We believe in risk reduction’. How do reduce the risk for sex workers?

We reduce the risk for SW by listening to them, creating safe, inclusive spaces for them to dialogue, and by respecting their voices. We can also reduce risks for SW by recognizing that criminalization puts them at greater risk.

First and foremost, the call to “Nothing about us, without us” has never been more true or necessary than it is today. With the rising move of anti-trafficking legislation impacting how SW, victims, and survivors are treated, the great need to listen to a broad spectrum of SW and survivor voices is growing.

There are victims being arrested and convicted, instead of being helped. Wendy Barnes’ story and the recent Latesha Clay case are excellent examples of this. SW and the sex industry often find themselves being blamed and held accountable for trafficking.

Labor trafficking occurs at much higher rates, yet it’s treated very differently without campaigning to have jeans factories or shrimp boats shut down … If anything, the calls for labor protections are growing, and yet we refuse to engage the SW community and ask them how they can be a part of these conversations and help in the fight against trafficking.

SW are our best defense, our first responders, our most important eyes and ears in places that NO ONE else has access to. This leads me to believe that maybe WE have the problem and that we need to address our biases. It would help both survivors and SW to get honest about whether or not our efforts are helping or potentially harming those we say we care about and want to see free.

Second, I think it’s critical to talk about WHO is being most impacted … Who are our efforts targeting? What communities are being impacted and hurt most by our new policies? Is it impoverished communities? Is it communities of color? Who’s being arrested the most, real victims or SW? Are we reflecting and analyzing that data well?

Based on what I’ve experienced, seen, and heard, we’ve limited our efforts and they’re missing the very real issues driving trafficking … Patriarchy, gender inequality, poverty, racism, lack of educational or occupational opportunities, financial insecurity, and so many other agency factors. We’d like to think it’s a solid and substantial fix, but John stings won’t end trafficking and can even hurt the very people who we’re trying to help.

Many human trafficking organizations are tackling sex trafficking from the demand side and going after johns. Do you feel this is an effective way to reduce sex trafficking?

John stings concern me for many reasons, but largely because they primarily target, involve, and arrest those who are trying to survive without accurately being able to distinguish who is who. This means SW and victims generally face criminal charges unless they are willing to cooperate with law enforcement. If they are unable or unwilling to do that, they are left with criminal records, often locking them into the very work we criminalize and stigmatize them for.

I often hear about how traumatizing and disempowering ‘rescues’ are for survivors. I’ve often heard how grateful survivors are to be free but never have I heard a survivor say they’re criminal charges and their criminal record were a blessing.

I often hear about the pressure they feel to cooperate with a criminal case . This kind of pressure on trauma survivors and exploitation of victims is worrisome for me and advocates all over the world.

There ARE other ways, we just need to care enough to listen to EVERYONE on the SW spectrum, explore them, and stop looking for the quick fix that puts a band-aid on a bullet wound.

In addition to those concerns, we find that stings and raids can often isolate and push further underground not only SW but survivors. This, of course, creates more dangerous situations for them and prevents them from being able to make safer decisions about their work and more easily access services or help should they need to. Despite LE’s best intentions, they are not viewed as help by SW or survivors and contacted only as a very last resort, if ever.

I grew up in a law enforcement family, so it’s not lost on me how challenging this is for LE agencies to address and navigate, but with more collaboration, I think we could offer more options and get more done … Especially in ways that honor those being exploited, that don’t further criminalize SW and allow our victims the opportunities to get the help they need and become survivors.

Is there any question I forgot to ask that you would like the readers to know?

First, thanks so much for allowing me to share these thoughts! It’s an incredibly complex and nuanced discussion and there’s no way to cover every intersectional understanding that we wish people could have. Last year, I did an interview with ‘Formerly Fundie’ and Patheos blogger, Benjamin L. Corey. Some of the links in that interview were pretty great and I encourage some extra reading for those who might want to unpack some of the ideas and thoughts I touched on.

Meg lives in So Cal with her husband and 4 kids. She’s a former sex worker and Domestic Sex Trafficking Survivor who founded and runs Abeni, an Orange County NPO that serves those working the spectrum of sex work. She’s a big fan of deep conversations, life-long learning, snark, and Harm Reduction.

The Stop Human Trafficking Action Group would like to thank Meg for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to answer our questions. We also invite our readers to leave their comments below.

Looking for a unique gift? Want to help others this holiday season?
Do both by purchasing from one of the companies below.

 

  1. Ten Thousand Villages http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/

What you can buy there: jewelry, scarves, handbags, baskets, wall décor, home accents, outdoor décor, spa & skincare, candles, office & stationery, games & toys, sculptures, and holiday items.

“Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serve ware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. One of the world’s largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries.”

 

  1. Purpose Jewelry www.purposejewelry.org

What you can buy there: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings

“Purpose jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of modern-day slavery. 100% of the proceeds benefit International Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization that provides holistic care for young women rescued from sex trafficking.”

 

  1. Thistle Farms http://thistlefarms.org/

What you can buy: bath salts, lotions, soaps, scented candles and room sprays, essential oils, coffee, teas, books, and gift sets

“Thistle Farms is a powerful community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. The organization employs more than 50 survivors through its social enterprises which include a natural body care company, Thistle Stop Cafe, artisan studio, and global marketplace called Shared Trade.”

 

  1. Sudara http://www.sudara.org/

What you can buy there: “Punjammies” loungewear bottoms for women, men and children, handcrafted bags, wallets, and holiday cards.

After taking a trip to India in 2005, seeing the poverty and desperation of the residents there, founder Shannon Keith got together with other like-minded individuals and began teaching the women skills to become seamstresses. Since that time the company has grown to include multiple partnerships and hundreds of women having a safe place to work and heal.

 

  1. Good Paper http://www.goodpaper.com/

What you can buy there: cards for birthdays, Father’s/Mother’s day, sympathy, get well, and wedding.

The company sells all occasion cards made by women who have escaped sex trafficking in the Philippines and young adults orphaned by disease in Rwanda. Cards are handmade, fair trade, and eco-friendly.

 

  1. Mulixiply http://www.mulxiply.com/

What you can buy there: rings, bracelets, earrings, tote bags, and handfelted toys

The company sells modern and stylish bags, wallets, and jewelry made by at risk (for human trafficking) women in Nepal.

 

  1. Kwagala http://www.kwagalajewelry.org/

What you can buy there: handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings

“Kwagala Project rescues women and girls from human trafficking. It gives long-term aftercare to survivors and helps them build meaningful, fulfilling lives. Through crucial counseling, education, and skills training, survivors learn to care for themselves, nurture their families, and ultimately help others.”

 

  1. Sari Bari http://saribari.com/

What you can buy there: blankets, bags (from coin purses to diaper bags), t-shirts, pillow covers, and stylish throws.

“Sari Bari sells beautiful, handcrafted products made from upcycled Indian saris. But its product story runs much deeper. Woven within each thread of its products is a tale of women who have found freedom from Kolkata’s sex trade. ‘Once trapped in the trade with no options, she now works in freedom. Once vulnerable to being trafficked, she knows has a steady means of employment to power her dreams.’”

 

  1. Malia Designs http://www.maliadesigns.com/

What you can buy there: bags (clutches to messenger bags), belts, scarves, earrings, business card holders, and wallets

“Malia Designs is a socially responsible fair trade brand that designs and sells handbags and accessories. Products are handcrafted in Cambodia, and every purchase helps to fight human trafficking.”

 

  1. Freeset http://freesetglobal.com/

What you can buy there: shopping bags, shoulder bags, gift bags, and T-shirts

“Freeset is a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade.”

 

  1. Starfish Project https://www.starfish-project.com/

What you can buy there: handcrafted earrings, bracelets, and necklaces

“At Starfish Project, exploited women are empowered to recognize their value. Their jewelry business provides women with meaningful employment in a safe and supportive environment. Women who come to Starfish Project have been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused, and many see no way out of their situation. In addition to dignified employment, Starfish Project provides women with housing, counseling, educational opportunities, vocational training and health care.”

 

***

Doing “something good” has never been easier. Help survivors as they try to make a better life for themselves and their family.

Share this blog link with everyone you know, and together we can make the world a better place this holiday season.

 

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.

 

This summer while resting and relaxing on your vacation, keep an eye out for potential trafficking victims. You may just save someone’s life.

Criminals traffic victims from one location to another to avoid detection from authorities, keep their “merchandise fresh,” and keep their victims disoriented.

Human traffickers use the same modes of transportation and stops law-abiding individuals use while on vacation: planes, trains, busses, roadside rest stops, car rental agencies, restaurants, and bars.

As you travel, be on the lookout for the following signs of a potential victim.

At the airport/train station/bus terminal 

Someone who:

  • Is not in control of his/her travel documents
  • Appears disoriented, drunk, or drugged
  • Has few or no possessions carried in small or plastic bags
  • Does not make eye contact
  • Is not allowed to speak
  • Seems unsure of his/her final destination

Also be aware of:

  • Children who do not look comfortable with the person they are with
  • Young women traveling alone
  • Young girls dressed inappropriately for their age

At the hotel/motel

Behaviors that are suspicious are:

  • Rooms paid for with cash, customer not forthcoming with personal information
  • Individuals checking in that have no ID
  • Individuals begging from staff and patrons
  • Several men coming and going from one room throughout the day/night
  • Housekeeping/landscaping workers working excessively long hours, odd hours, or having no breaks

At roadside rest areas

Be aware of people who are…

  • Begging
  • Individuals hanging around the bathroom area

At amusement parks

Keep in mind that amusement parts are often the site for child abductions or a hand-off to a buyer.

Always Be Aware of These Signs

As always, if you see someone with bruises in different stages of healing; who looks malnourished, sick  or has bad hygiene; or who appears frightened and confused, please notify authorities.

The worse that can happen is a little delay, the best that can happen is that you rescue a victim from a trafficker’s grasp.

Program this hotline number into your cell phone before your vacation and be prepared to report suspicious behavior.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888.