Human Trafficking: It Still Exists. How Can We Help?
- Mel Kaspin Blume
…so often, we feel called to raise awareness around topics that tug on our hearts and require our attention. In honor of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we are taking a moment to spotlight a super sad reality that occurs…everywhere.
First, we would like to start with the word “trafficking,” to make sure all readers understand what this really means. Trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Human beings are treated like a commodity, and “traffickers” make money from their “services.” Victims are led into a life of commercial sex or inhumane labor often by a “recruiter,” who is usually an expert in psychology and the art of brainwashing. This multi-billion dollar criminal industry strips individuals across the globe of their personal freedom and human rights.
Sadly, trafficking is happening right here, right now, on U.S. soil. In a TEDx Talk, Barbara Amaya spoke of her 12-year-old runaway self who bumped into a ‘caring’ woman in Washington, D.C. This ‘kind’ stranger invited pre-teen Barbara into her apartment - - and introduced her to a trafficker. Barbara was bought, sold, and trapped in this life for a decade.
…this story by millions. And millions. Thankfully there are brilliant organizations working tirelessly to raise awareness, reach government officials and tear down the industry. These include The Freedom Fund, GoodWeave, Polaris Project and Prajwala.
The Freedom Fund is leading the global movement. They “tackle the systems that allow slavery to persist and thrive.” As of June 2018, The Freedom Fund liberated 18,873 people.
Also leading the fight is Polaris, named after the North Star that led slaves to freedom in the United States. They “disrupt the human trafficking networks.” Polaris identified and responded to 31,000 cases of human trafficking and trained 77,000 individuals and organizations how to identify and stop trafficking.
Prajwala, an anti-trafficking organization in South India, has become “one of the most powerful voices nationally and globally for ensuring holistic victim services.” Prajwala has been recognized and awarded internationally for its efforts in prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
GoodWeave is another organization making a massive impact. “Dedicated to ending child labor, forced labor and bonded labor in global supply chains,” they rescued 6,740 children and provided quality education to 25,476 children.
If this hurts your heart as much as it does ours and you’d like to get involved, here are some ways:
Financially support or volunteer at a local, national or global organization.
Host a gathering to raise awareness and funds - - The CNN Freedom Project is a strong resource for human trafficking stories.
Become an informed consumer, and learn who is making your clothes…and picking your avocados.
Our other feature this week highlights brands that are anti-trafficking fighters - - doing what they can to make a difference. Get ready to shop and support.