As you may or may not already know, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Many may think of slavery as just a dark spot in human history, an atrocity existing solely in the past. In reality, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before. Human trafficking, the trade of humans as possessions to be controlled or exploited, can best be described as a form of modern-day slavery.
The numbers are startling, with an estimated 27 million people living in bondage all over the globe. It’s the world’s fastest growing criminal industry. Sadly, only one to two percent of victims are ever rescued. With statistics like this, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the problem. Yet we know that something must be done. The fact that it is still happening today across the globe, including in our own backyards (the Superbowl is the #1 place for human trafficking in the U.S.), is an injustice that cuts to one’s very heart and soul. This kind of injustice must be abolished! Thankfully there are many people who are living with the hope that a difference can be made and slavery can be abolished.
I was fortunate enough to spend nine months working with The A21 Campaign, an organization that exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. Through prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships, A21 aims to raise awareness, build shelters and transition homes for victims rescued from slavery, and strengthen the legal response to human trafficking. One of the most valuable things that I learned from A21 is that although the problem of human trafficking may seem overwhelming, there is reason to rejoice when even just one person finds freedom. Though it might only be one person, that one was certainly worth fighting for.
At times the issue of human trafficking can seem much too big to solve. Yet I’ve also learned how inspiring a committed group of passionate people can be, and what an impact they can truly make! The task can seem so daunting, but there is so much power in action, in doing something, no matter how small it may seem.
If human trafficking is an issue that moves you, then use your skills, your creativity and your passions to help end it. There are so many organizations out there that are just waiting for you to get involved!
Here are a few practical ways to start:
- Do your research and educate yourself on the issue. Use your voice. Volunteer.
- Raise awareness by doing whatever it is that you do best, whatever it is that makes you feel most alive. If you are a runner, maybe you can get sponsors and run a marathon for the cause. If you are an artist, create pieces that will ignite a conversation and raise awareness.
- If you are a fabulous hostess, throw a fundraising rally.
- Shop at fair trade organizations like these that empower people rescued from human trafficking.
- Pray for the victims and ask that God bring opportunities into your life to help those affected.
Here are some of the best campaigns and organizations always looking for volunteers and funding:
The possibilities are truly endless, and as trite as it may sound, you really can make a difference. No one is equipped to tackle the problem alone, but together we can abolish modern-day slavery.