Bringing the Fight Against Human Trafficking to Our Front Door
BY SARAH KOCH
Current events have been buzzing with the term ‘human trafficking’. Between issues at the border and lawsuits against high profile individuals, trafficking is coming into the light of the American public like never before.
For some, this is nothing more than news to keep on top of in the daily hustle of family, work, and play. For others, this news will reverberate in the depths of their soul, lighting a fire of passion that leaves them forever changed.
A few years ago, I had a “fire of passion” moment with human trafficking that changed the trajectory of my life. I stumbled upon a documentary on the issue. It was surreal to watch the reality of modern day slavery play out in front of me. I felt sick as I sat and watched. I thought to myself, how could this be happening, and how is this the first time I’m hearing about it? I needed to do something. I needed to be a part, no matter how small, of the community fighting this atrocity.
According to The Exodus Road, an anti-trafficking organization that focuses much of their work on intervention and rescue of trafficked persons, there are approximately 45 million people trapped in human trafficking today. The majority of those 45 million are women and children. Some are forced to work in brothels and sell their bodies multiple times a day. Others are made to work in harsh conditions on fishing boats and in factories for little to no cost for hours upon hours a day. Most of them are coerced into this life and blindsided when the promise of an education and a good paying job is empty and broken.
None of these individuals deserve to be treated like this. Each one has a name. Each one has a family. Each one has a life worth living.
While my family and I have chosen a path to dedicate our lives to fighting human trafficking, I know that not everybody has that calling on their lives. We all have a purpose and a plan, but that does not mean that we cannot contribute to change. Justice is in our hands. Here are a couple of practical ways you and I can fight human trafficking in our everyday lives!
Buy Fair Trade whenever you can
My family and I are currently in the process of making more conscious decisions to buy Fair Trade products when and where we can. For example, we only purchase coffee, chocolate, and sugar with a Fair Trade label, and we are gradually making the switch to Fair Trade with items like cotton and bananas. While it may not seem like much, if we all make these little changes, we will make a difference together. Why Fair Trade? – http://fairtradeamerica.org/Why-Fairtrade
Donate to an organization dedicated to human trafficking
There are countless organizations combating human trafficking globally. Do some research, find one or two that resonate in your heart, and support them financially. My family and I have supported The Exodus Road, and with each monthly donation, they are able to help fund a search and rescue team that goes into the darkest places of the world to rescue survivors and bring justice to traffickers. Here is a link to a list of organizations for you to check out: http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect
Spend time organizing a fundraiser for the organization you support. This fundraiser can be anything from a community event, to hosting a dinner for your neighborhood friends and family. Make it fun, and spread the word using your gifts and talents! My husband and I used our wedding guest book as a platform to spread the word about The Exodus Road and the life-changing work they are doing.
Use your voice
So many people I speak to have no idea about the true extent of human trafficking. Use your voice and your written words to communicate the truth. So many people just don’t know, and we cannot change the world if we don’t know the world. If you ever see, suspect, or are involved in human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1 (888) 373-7888
If you are like me, simply doing these things may not feel like enough. But believe me when I say that it is a great start. I am learning that although my family and I are dedicating our life and journey to fight human trafficking, there will not always be “action” involved. We will not always be on the front lines and in the thick of it. One day we will, but for now, we carry the truth about modern day slavery wherever we go in whatever capacity we can.
We are not silent about the issue. You don’t have to be either. And as we are seeing everyday in the news and online, our voices matter. Our voices change the world. Let’s use our voices and stand for something so much greater than us.