Human trafficking is a huge issue that impacts millions of people worldwide. It is easy to feel powerless against such a pervasive issue. But there ARE things you can do to help. Here are a few:
- Become a conscientious consumer. Labor trafficking and debt bondage are the most common forms of human trafficking. Our demand for cheap products encourages situations in which workers are either grossly under paid, or not paid at all. You can fight it by:
- Shopping at local second hand stores to keep profits in your community.
- Buy refurbished electronics to decrease demand for the minerals used in production, which are often mined by children and slaves.
- Chocolate and coffee are among the industries most known for using children to harvest their raw materials. The Fair Trade certification isn’t perfect, but it is a good step in the right direction. Look for one of these symbols on your chocolate and coffee and rest assured no slaves were exploited in the making of your treats.
- Check out the companies doing the most to stop slavery in their supply chain by going to: free2work.org
- Take this quiz to see how many slaves work for you, and ask your favorite companies to do more to make sure there is no forced labor in their supply chain.
- Traffickers use social media to lure in victims. You can use social media to learn more about trafficking and spread the word. Follow organizations who are working hard to fight trafficking to stay abreast of what is going on in the world. Some great organizations are:
- Volunteer at a local NGO (non-governmental organization). If you are in St Louis, check out Stop Human Trafficking, The International Institute of St Louis, and the Covering House. Here is a list of organizations nationwide. Though most people want to volunteer to work one on one with victims, respect the delicate journey to healing the victims are on. Be open to helping however you are needed– from clerical work to janitorial duties.
- Know the number. If you suspect trafficking, call the hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888
- Head over to the Polaris website and ask your representatives in Congress to make ending human trafficking a priority.
- Talk about it! So many people don’t even know this is happening. Spread the word.
Human trafficking is a big problem. But together, we can be part of a big solution.