To prevent is `` to be in readiness for (as an occasion); to meet or satisfy in advance; to act ahead of; to go or arrive before; to deprive of power or hope of acting or succeeding; to keep something from happening or arising; or make someone or something unable to do something.``
Merriam-Webster & Oxford Dictionaries
Remember the recent Uber hero that made it his business to save a teen from sex trafficking?
That my friends is the power of prevention in action.
So, how you may ask, can I take part in such powerful action? Well, look no further! Here are 5 things you can do to stop trafficking in its tracks:
#1: BE IN THE KNOW
Educate yourself – know what to look for.
We know it’s a bit overwhelming with the tons of information available on human trafficking, but we want to make it simple for you. Below are curated content (from reliable and nationally recognized orgs) that we’ve gathered for you on signs and red flags you should be aware of if you happen to come across or suspect someone who may be trafficked.
Youth, Parents/Guardians & General Public
School Educators & Administrators
Healthcare & Mental Health Professionals
Child Protective Services & Probation Officers
It’s also important to get a full picture of where the victims are coming from. Understanding a person’s perspective gives you a better idea of why the victim might not necessarily receive your help with open arms. Polaris put out a pretty comprehensive handout that explains a victims’ barriers, at no fault of their own, which you can read/download here.
Stay aware! Victims are counting on you!
#2: MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS
Pay attention – report it!
Just like Keith Avila, the Uber driver hero, made it his business to eavesdrop on the conversation happening in the back of his car during the ride and then called the police to report what happened – make it your business to do the same.
If you see, hear, or have a gut feeling about something suspicious, call it into the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888), where experts can help you sort it out and send the tip to local law enforcement or a service provider if deemed necessary.
If you or the person you are helping is in immediate danger, call 911.
You have the power. Own it and wield it for good.
#3: CONSUME CONSCIOUSLY
What are you watching, listening to, reading? Who are you following?
Does the music you listen to promote or glamorize violent behavior or behavior that degrades and/or dehumanizes women?
Do the movies you watch promote a hyper-sexualized lifestyle or violent lifestyle?
Do the people you follow on social media promote negative, violent, or sexualized behavior that glamorizes or normalizes said type of behavior?
If you said ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then it may be time to rethink those influences on your life. You may be surprised, but what is often portrayed on mass media and available online nowadays is legally considered illegal. How are individuals and corporations getting away with this? Because the demand is there. Because the number of people standing up against it isn’t loud enough. Because we are too desensitized to what we see, hear or expose ourselves to.
Again, it all begins with awareness. Once you are conscious of the problem, you can then address it.
So let’s start that conversation. Register to join our Human Trafficking 102 Ed Series – Media & Cultural Attitudes to learn more of the extent of the problem, its relationship to trafficking, and what we can do to curtail it.
What you consume ends up consuming you – becoming who you are.
#4: GET INVOLVED
In fact, you’re already involved. Just how connected you are to it is up to you to decipher.
Trafficking is a global phenomenon. A $150 billion global phenomenon, where two-thirds of that industry is driven by the illegal sex trade (about $99 billion worth) and the rest by forced labor (about $51 billion).
We’re not talking chump change here folks. This is BIG business and it’s a thriving business fueled by the demand – the demand for sex and goods. There’s no other way to sugar coat it.
So how are you already involved? How often do you think twice about the language used as you dance to the latest pop song? How often do you think twice about what is being portrayed on the latest music video/movie/tv show/video game that’s glamorizing sex or violence? How often are you driven by a culture where consumerism and consumption is prized and glamorized?
You see, my friend, we are all in this together – intertwined and connected to an illegal industry dependent on exploiting human beings which thrives on us not knowing, not caring, and not daring to take action against them.
But if not you or me, then who? Who will get their hands dirty to save fellow human beings’ lives? Who will say ‘no more’ to the hyper-sexualized mass media that’s overflowing on our phones, computers, televisions, tablets, and video game consuls? Who will say ‘no more’ to goods produced by slave labor?
Will it be you?
Commercial Sexual Exploitation
- Advocate for stronger penalties and enforcement against buyers for sex.
- Challenge language that degrades women and normalizes sexual exploitation.
- Mentor young men; help them to decode cultural messages about masculinity.
- Join or donate to a local non-profit organization that prevents human trafficking.
Forced Labor Exploitation
- Buy Fair Trade when possible.
- Ask your favorite brands/stores about their global supply chain policies – Corruption & Labor Trafficking in Global Supply Chains & Addressing Human Rights Issues in Global Supply Chains
- Calculate your global slavery footprint via slaveryfootprint.org
- Be a conscious consumer.
- Host a screening and discussion of the film “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”
-Adapted from “Stop the Demand for Human Trafficking” via Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center (IPJC)
We've got to find a way. The good people in this country are going to have to say 'we've had enough.' The good people of this country have got to start fighting back.
#5: STAY CONNECTED
Link up and commit.
Don’t give up the fight.
Follow the heavy-hitters on social media (Polaris, Shared Hope International, International Justice Mission, etc.) to see what they’re up to in the fight, but also don’t lose sight of what is happening around you locally – like us 🙂 – either!
We need you in this for the long haul! So gather up your resolve & stick to it!
November 03, 2016
October 10, 2016
September 03, 2016