January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It is a time to really look closely at this horrific crime that is a global atrocity and initiate ACTION. It is NOT a time to sit back and feel sorry for these victims and courageous survivors, it is a time to DO SOMETHING.
As I slowly recover from a terrible car accident, I am relegated to being a keyboard soldier when the pain is bearable. But I will continue to fight for these people that I so desperately want to help.
What is Human Trafficking exactly?
“It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilized world.” – President Obama
Read up here: Child Trafficking Statistics
As you can see it takes many forms and can happen any and everywhere. And to anyone and everyone.
I already know what some of you are thinking. Not in America. Not on my turf. That’s an overseas problem. Have you seen Taken? It’s not happening here. Not in my town. Not in the suburbs. Not in the gated communities. Not here!
But I will sadly tell you the truth. IT IS or IT COULD. And while many articles focus on big and small cities, it happens all over the country thanks to the internet and demand. From the hustle and bustle of the big cities to quiet-we-leave-our-doors-unlocked-suburbia (stop doing that btw). It affects ALL DEMOGRAPHICS AND WEALTH CLASSES. Take a look at the map created by using statistics from the The Polaris Project that shows locations where human trafficking is KNOWN to be taking place.
Human trafficking has increased significantly overseas due to weak government infrastructures, terrorism, poverty, and a corrupt supply chain. People are being trafficked in and out of the United States. With the increase of gang members and other organized crime syndicates switching from drug trafficking to the trafficking of humans here in the U.S., this problem will only get worse, if we don’t fight back.
So what can YOU do?
- Arm yourself with information. Knowledge is key in understanding how victims are lured as well as how to spot someone who can’t ask for help. Learn some of the signs HERE. *I will go into more detail in a future post. Because not all victims “look trafficked.”
- Be careful with whom you hang around or trust. Traffickers have often been friends of the family, relatives, or important figures in their community. As I often say “Not all monsters look like monsters.”
- Protect yourselves, especially the young ladies. I wish we lived in a safe society like we should but we don’t. Again, predators exist. Learn self-defense, carry mace and/or a taser, get a weapon, use the buddy system. Do whatever you need to do to stay safe. Most of you know this… but I reiterate because I care.
- Support organizations like ours, The Polaris Project, The A21 Campaign, End Slavery Now, and other local and national human trafficking awareness advocacy groups.
- Support your local women’s shelters like H.E.R. Shelter, Salvation Army’s, and homeless shelters. The Homestead Ranch in Hampton Roads rehabilitates survivors of human trafficking.
- Put pressure on your local, state, and federal government representatives. There have been strides made, but to be frank, it is NOT good enough. There needs to be more money allocated to fighting this injustice as well as harsher punishments for the pimps, johns, and other perpetrators.
- Do not buy merchandise, products, or food from merchants who knowingly use slave labor or sweatshop labor. You can check to see how much of what is in your home is produced by slaves HERE.
- Create an event to raise money for your favorite local advocacy group. To fight organized crime that is making BILLIONS of untaxed dollars off exploiting people each year, we are going to need even more than that to fight back. Money is a powerful tool that will help us see long term results. Start a bake sale, car wash, run a marathon, put on a play. Do whatever inspires you to raise awareness and funds.
- Create your own group and make your mark on the world. It’s what we did 🙂 Let’s join forces!
- Click HERE for more options from the U.S. Department of State.
Even though January is nearly over, it’s never too early or too late to work towards saving lives.
What is the end goal of this? To eradicate human trafficking in our lifetime. I think we can do it. Join us!
You are loved. You are important. You matter.