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It’s possible that you have heard this term thrown around lately. Just recently you may have heard about Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner who was charged with human trafficking. It is possible that you may have even heard that there are more slaves today than any other time in history.
What you may not be fully aware of is that these crimes against humanity are growing at an epidemic rate and is not just a developing country issue but a global issue impacting everyone, everywhere. Yes, even in all 50 states of the United States.
For those of you who don’t know or are still confused on how slavery can be happening all around the world and why it’s not the top of every news show, let me shed some light on the subject. First, let me introduce myself and how I got involved in fighting human trafficking. I’m a concerned citizen that saw a movie a decade ago that changed my life forever.
When I walked into that old movie theater full of crushed red velvet and the smell of popcorn, I had no idea that a mission would be given to me that day. A friend invited me to a movie knowing that I had recently been brought out of the darkness and was on a path of healing.
“Because of your past, you have to see this movie,” she insisted.
So, I went, not fully understanding what I would see that day. On a huge screen before me were five-year-old little girls tugging on the shirts of men saying they give good yum-yum (sexual favors) for money.
Tears rolled down my face as story after story was told of beautiful people being trapped in a life of slavery. I was torn from the inside out. I knew all too well the pain of having someone do things to you, that you never asked them to do.
I know the pain of being raped and abused. I was once lost in the sex industry using drugs to dull my pain.
I escaped at the age of nineteen with the birth of my son. I knew of this dark world but never knew how dark it could get.
How young the victims of this dark world could be. How little girls are raped over forty times a day and sold over and over again. Sold and traded like cattle. Kept in cages and dark basements. The modern commodity has become human lives and the value placed on them is less than my monthly coffee budget.
I started to research and become an expert on the subject. Back then no one had even heard about human trafficking.
Back then we were reporting that there were 2.7 million slaves in the world. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work fighting for those who cannot speak for themselves. It’s brought me to over 14 countries and I’m not slowing down any time soon. I’ve worked with children born in the brothels in India, adult woman who had lived a life of child sex slavery under the control of the LRA (Lords Resistance Army) in Africa, and educated countless United States citizens on how to be aware and make a difference.
Flash forward to today, over ten years later. We are now reporting that there are over 40 MILLION slaves in the world today. A child is sold for sex every 30 seconds of every single day. The most common forms of slavery are: labor trafficking, orphan trafficking, forced marriage, organ trafficking, sex slavery, and familial trafficking.
There are men, women and children all over this world who are being exploited. Slaves forced to work in unthinkable conditions so that your cotton t-shirt can be sold to you cheaper, so that your chocolate can be cheaper, so that your organic foods can be sold at a competitive price.
There are those who have realized that they can only sell a drug once, yet a child sex slave can be sold over 25 times a day. The profit margin is lucrative and once the child gets sick or can no longer perform they are tossed with the trash and another one is bought.
I wrote a book called Battle Cry: a Call to Arms Against Human Trafficking. It’s my passion in life to equip others with the information they need to keep their community safe from such injustice.
First you must be informed and then equipped to act: instead of focusing on the problem as a world issue. I feel it’s more practical to focus on keeping your community safe. If we all joined together and knew what to look for, educated our communities and banned together to say no to slavery in our lives imagine what we could do! If we all demand to know where our clothing comes from, the food we eat the products we buy. If we all knew how to keep our children safe from online predators, if we all knew what to look for we could stop this injustice. Little ones being sold on the weekend and then sent to school could be identified brought to a safe place, massage places; escort service, seedy back parlor trafficking could be identified as you take the train to work. A butterfly effect of one small act of kindness, one small act of seeing something- saying something could create a tsunami effect of change.
Will you join me in the Battle Cry against human trafficking?
AMANDA’S TOP 10 WAYS to FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
1. Save the Hotline Number in your Phone
If there is only one thing you do, let it be this. If you suspect or see something, say something by calling the hotline.
2. Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power! Start to devour as much info as possible on human trafficking. READ-WATCH-RESEARCH all the books, movies and articles you can find. Become an expert!
3. Host a Party
Now that you have all this knowledge and awareness it’s time to share! Host a party- a BASH slavery party. What is a BASH SLAVERY party? Have friends over to watch a movie, review a book or listen to guest speaker about human trafficking. Already having a party? Invite your guest to stay late or come early to hear about fighting human trafficking or have a display raising awareness. Do you have an at home business and throw parties and sell items? Consider donating a percentage to your favorite abolitionist organization.
4. Learn the Indicators
Be an aware citizen and learn the indicators of human trafficking. There are signs you can look for to identify possible trafficking situations.
5. Get Involved
Find a local organization that is making an impact in your community and get involved. Help them with their next fundraiser. Or you can start a blog, vlog, or podcast and help educate others. Go international and join an impact trip.
6. Shop Wisely
Slaves made many items we buy today. Be an aware consumer. Look for fair-trade products or items made by survivors.
7. Lobby Politicians
Write your local politician, mayor and chamber. Explain to them that you would like to see them more involved in eradicating it in your community.
8. Don’t Buy Sex
Without a demand there would be no need for supply. If you have a sexual addiction get help. Stop buying porn, escorts, going to massage parlors or the like. Teach young men how to treat women.
9. Prayer + Gratitude
PRAY- for those trapped in slavery and for the abolitionists fighting. BE GRATEFUL- grateful for all those who have survived. For those who are fighting on the front line and for all the good that is being done.
Give freely and wisely. Not all organizations saying they are helping those in slavery really are. Not all the funds you give may be going towards fighting human trafficking. Be wise, and do your research. One organization that I recommend is Global Orphan Prevention, who work to prevent orphan trafficking and child sex trafficking through economic development and education. >>GlobalOrphanPrevention.org