Source: Germ Magazine
Human trafficking is an expansive issue with estimates of over 47 million people bound by the chains of forced exploitation. To your average, every day citizen, this problem may seem so extensive that they feel powerless to help aid in the ending of this practice, which makes many raise the question of “What can I actually do to help fight human trafficking?” The answer is simple: There are a large array of activities you can participate in to combat trafficking.
As the Project to End Human Trafficking suggests, there are three overarching categories of ways you can help, which then subdivide into smaller, more specific activities: getting educated on human trafficking, taking action, and reporting a tip.
There is a large array of documentaries, books, and online resources in order to educate oneself on trafficking. As the United Way Center on Human Trafficking encourages, it is important to learn the signs or the indicators of a victim of human trafficking. The U.S. Department of State agrees, asserting that “Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.” Training for these occupations are significant because they are the people more likely to directly interact or encounter human trafficking victims. The website abolishion.org encourages people to educate themselves, even offering a free online email course that takes only five minutes a day. In addition, there are several highly reputable organizations one could utilize to inform oneself, including the Polaris Project and the Free the Slaves initiative.
The second facet of human trafficking activism is that of taking action. This category can take form in a large array of different activities. The three aforementioned websites all have varying recommendations for becoming involved, but they all agree on one thing: to become informed of one’s own slavery footprint. This means that a person should research the product one buys and ensure than none of them purchased were produced utilizing slave labor at any point in their supply chains. While this task may seem looming, one source that can help one become a conscientious consumer is the Made in a Free World organization, which helps citizens be more aware of how the goods they buy are produced. As the above sources suggest, some other ways one can take action are by donating consistently to a reputable organization fighting human trafficking, contacting local, state, or national legislators encouraging them to pass anti-human trafficking legislation, raising awareness by planning a human trafficking seminar at a church, school, or community center and by posting wisely on social media. There are truly a large array of ways in which someone could aid in fighting human trafficking.
The final aspect of human trafficking is that of reporting a tip. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has a 24/7 hotline one can call in order to report a incidence of human trafficking or for a survivor to call for help and resources. It is advisable to put this number in one’s cell phone just in case it is needed one day. On a more personal note, I actually keep business cards with this hotline number on it in my wallet in case I encounter anyone who I deem may be at risk. In addition, I have pinned this number in coffee shops around the city just in case someone may happen to see it. The number for the hotline is 1-888-373-7888 and is meant to be easy to remember just in case a victim may need to memorize it quickly.
The three aspects of becoming a human trafficking activist, educating oneself, taking action, and reporting any incidents, are important because they are all interconnected. One will not work without the other, so it is highly important that average citizens strive to achieve these three aspects. If everyone educated themselves and chose to do one form of activism of their choice, we could truly make an impact in ending human trafficking in our world.