Human trafficking is crime against humanity. It touches people all over the world, in all walks of life. How can we best educate ourselves, and work together to work against and stop it?
An international and domestic problem
This past Jan. was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.
According to the International Justice Mission, there are an estimated 45.8 million people in slavery, worldwide.
This means there are 45.8 million people being forced by fear or coercion to work jobs that give little or no pay. Men are in quarries and brick yards working unimaginable hours for next to nothing, but they stay to protect their families. Women are sold on the streets to multiple men a day, but they cannot leave. If they do and are caught, and killed. Children are forced to work jobs that no child should have to work. Many are trafficked and sold in the sex industry.
Though all of this forced labor is illegal, it still happens.
It is not just an issue in foreign regions, such as Africa, and the Middle East. No, it happens in America as well. It happens in big cities, like New York and Los Angeles, and smaller, local cities, like Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Just over a year ago, police in Hampton arrested five men who were charged with trafficking women.
A crime against all
This violation of human dignity, this exploitation of the vulnerable, is an atrocity. To take the freedom of another human being for profitIt is a defilement of universal rights. It cannot be allowed to continue.
So, how can we, the poor and humble college students that we are, help end slavery and human trafficking?
Take the time to look up the facts. Listen to the stories of those who have been saved from slavery and to the stories of those who helped free victims. Understand the issue. Become aware.
2. Spread the word
Talk about human trafficking. Make slavery a conversation. Share videos on Facebook, and tell people in person. Take what you have learned and educate others.
3. Stop the demand
The slave industry works just like any other business; the business will supply what is demanded. Are your actions fueling the demand?
Learn about where are your products coming from. Buy from Fair Trade companies and demand businesses provide ethical products. Also, be careful what you watch. Remember that 49% of those saved from sex trafficking admitted that they were used to make pornographic content.
4. Help those who are fighting.
International Justice Mission, A21, Free the Slaves, Antislavery, and Polaris. These are just a few organizations working to end slavery and human trafficking. Donate to them. Volunteer with them. Pray for them. Heck, join them. Make a career out of it, if you want. Remember, we are called to go, and sometimes that “go” is “go to another town” and sometimes that “go” is “go to another continent.”
Finally, I would like to urge you to pay attention to the world around you. Listen to the news and keep up on current events. Remember that there are people hurting all around us. Not all are enslaved, but that does not make them less deserving of compassion. Pay attention to the needs of those in your friend group, in your community, and in your city or town. Pay attention to the hurt in the world and think about what you can do to help lessen the pain. Create community that does not condone and allow the exploitation of another human being, but instead protects the defenseless.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”- Isaiah 1:17. ESV
Carey Judy is a contributor to The Daily Runner.