Guest Blog Contributed By 27 Million
The anticipation of 2021 has held high hopes for many as we look to escape the unpredictable highs and lows of the last year. While anti-human trafficking initiatives aren’t new, 2020 unveiled deep rooted nuances to the movement to end modern-day slavery. The “new normal” revealed hidden parts of our social systems that required a head-to-toe, extreme makeover to combat exploitation that continued to thrive and increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. One example: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) reported that calls to their tip line doubled in 2020.1
As we continue to face our ever-changing reality, many feel challenged to step up and be part of the change; to make themselves heard on the topic and see lasting and effective impact. We are all on the same team in the anti-trafficking movement and that includes every one of you reading this. More than 40 million2 people are the faces of this multi-billion-dollar industry. We must actively respond.
We have identified four simple tools to empower you to take action, no matter where you are.
Every person can play a role in this endeavor. We each must find that role and invest our time for the betterment of other human beings.
- Raise a Healthy Family
A healthy family may seem simple, but it’s not a reality for everyone. Many victims of human trafficking come from family environments that failed to foster safe places for them to grow. By taking the steps to ensure that your home is a safe place and that you are a present parent, you are lowering risk factors for trafficking in your own home. Know what is happening in the lives of your children and their friendships.
- Shop Smart
You have likely seen the “MADE IN [country]” stickers on store-bought items or printed on clothing tags. Take a few minutes to research the brands you’re considering and be sure the workers making your favorite things are treated with dignity and paid fair wages. One way to begin vetting brands and companies is to visit https://www.fairlabor.org/affiliates to see who is operating in fair, ethical and sustainable ways.
- Travel Mindfully
The next time you head out on a business trip or vacation, you have the opportunity to see and respond to situations going on in the world. If someone seems suspicious of exploitation or potential human trafficking, you can make an anonymous tip to organizations like Polaris Project’s National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). You don’t have to be 100% right to speak up—only willing to make the effort.
- Donate Time or Money
If you can’t have your boots on the ground, there are local, national and international organizations that can! Sow of your time as a volunteer or make a monetary donation to an organization committed to the efforts of anti-trafficking. These are vital organizations and projects that need funding and people to keep them going. They need you. Your investment can support initiatives already in place and working to bring freedom and restoration to victims in Orange County and around the world.
This fight is the responsibility of all of us. Choosing to be an agent for change and freedom makes the fight on the ground feel that much more hopeful because we know we are not in this alone.
27 Million stand along grassroots organizations around the world who are on the front lines battling to end modern-day slavery. They offer support and training to these organizations and create projects and opportunities for everyone to make a stand in solidarity with today’s modern-day slaves. Together, we hope to see freedom for all in our lifetime. For more information about 27 Million, visit their website at 27million.com.