Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness day here in the United States. What does that mean?
It means that for one day, the horrible crimes of human trafficking and modern-day slavery get a little more of the attention they deserve.
It means that, for one day, abolitionists around the world have a rare platform from which to educate the public and encourage people to get involved in the fight against human trafficking and slavery.
As I sit down to write this, I can't help but wonder how many more Human Trafficking Awareness days we'll need. How many will it take before this horrific crime is finally part of our history and not our present or our future? How many will it take before the poor and vulnerable of the world are freed not only from the chains of slavery, but of fear and violent oppression?
There are more slaves in the world today than at anytime in history; 27 million by conservative estimates. 27 million men, women and children who are robbed of their freedom, their health, and sometimes their very lives. Generations of family members are born into slavery because a great grandfather borrowed $25 to pay for food, or medical care and agreed to work off his debt. Or because they were tricked into taking "good-paying jobs" far from home, but instead find themselves forced into prostitution or domestic servitude.
Today, on this day that is routinely set aside to remember the victims of human trafficking, let's do more than just remember them. Let's do something to set them free.
There are so many things you can do to help bring freedom to those who don't have it, and protect future generations from being sold or coerced into becoming generations of slaves.
Learn more about the realities of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. There are some great resources available including:
State Department Trafficking in Person's Report
Attorney General's Assessment of U.S. Efforts to Combat Trafficking
General Trafficking Statistics
Stories from former slaves
Read one, or read them all. Take some time to look at the faces, and learn the names of people were once brutally oppressed by slave owners. Let them tell you how much they value their freedom.
Tell others what you've learned. Tell friends, family members, co-workers... anyone who will listen.
Call, email or write your Senators and Representatives. Ask your Representative to support the Child Protection Compact Act. Tell your Senators you'd like to see a Senate version of the bill introduced as well.
Support local, national or international organizations that work to end human trafficking and slavery. Give your money or time. Give clothes or food to victim shelters. If you're a graphic designer, web developer, writer, social worker or lawyer, give your services.
International Justice Mission
Not for Sale
Rowing Against Slavery
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
and of course, once our non-profit status is official, you'll be able to support us, too!
Today is not the beginning of a movement. The movement to end slavery and human trafficking began years ago. But today, you can join the fight and help us reach the tipping point that will bring slavery to an end once and for all.