By Kristen Johnson
In 2007, by Senate Resolution, January 11th became Human Trafficking Awareness Day. I am blessed to be able to serve in a United Methodist Women’s Group, and Human Trafficking is one of our top causes. As a result of this work, I am well aware of the problem, and am able to contribute with my group to this cause. However, it is not necessarily on the forefront of everyone’s minds, and it really should be. The problem is much worse than many imagine, and the wounds run very deep for victims.
Just a little bit about Human Trafficking:
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.
Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.
Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories. (Humantraffickinghotline.org)
The Department of Homeland Security is well aware of the problem and is working to combat it, with their Blue Campaign. This campaign works to raise awareness, to bring exploiters to justice, provide training to law enforcement and others for increased detection, and to identify and protect victims. For more information on this important campaign, look here: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.
It is our responsibility to fight against modern-day slavery and to protect victims. If you think you see a victim, report it to the authorities. Support organizations who assist victims. Pray for victims and support legislation that fights perpetrators.
There are many, many organizations that are working on fighting the problem. I have highlighted some of these agencies on my blog in previous posts and I am happy to continue to support them. If you are looking to help today, here are a few suggestions:
3 Strands Global Foundation: I have been blessed to be able to support this wonderful organization with fundraising, in particular through one of their charity run/walk events. They do amazing work on behalf of victims. You can donate to their cause here: http://3strandsglobalfoundation.org/get-involved/donate/donate/.
Polaris Project: They provide the National Human Trafficking Hotline where you can report suspected trafficking violations. (I called the hotline once when I saw a suspected victim at a motel and they were incredibly helpful!) They do wonderful work on survivor support and legislative action. To donate to this marvelous cause, click here: https://polarisproject.org.
Threads Fair Trade Partner (one of my favorite Fair Trade organizations!) is offering 15% off orders today in honor of this awareness day. Enter the code “endtrafficking” when making your order here: https://rachelvigil.threadsworldwide.com/.
Keep in mind – refusing to acknowledge that a problem exists is being a part of the problem. Report suspected abuses. Be the quiet hero these victims so desperately need.
Isaiah 61:1 (NRSV): The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of: stocksnap.io