January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and with more than 21 million people enslaved around the world, efforts to combat human trafficking are more important than ever.
“…in too many places around the world -- including right here in the United States -- the injustice of modern slavery and human trafficking still tears at our social fabric. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we resolve to shine a light on every dark corner where human trafficking still threatens the basic rights and freedoms of others.”
– President Barack Obama
Human Trafficking is defined by the United Nations as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. In short, it is compelling someone, thru force, fraud, or coercion, to work or engage in a commercial sex act.
Human trafficking takes on many forms, including sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced labor, and bonded labor. Any enslavement of a child, whether sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced or bonded labor, is considered child labor. Regardless of the form, human trafficking robs people of their freedom, strips them of their dignity, and subjects them to unimaginable suffering.
While much has been done globally and in the United States to fight the injustices of modern-day slavery, there is still much to do. And that begins with awareness. After all, we cannot fight an injustice until we first know about its presence. We all have a role to play in ending slavery, and there are many ways to get involved:
- Learn more about human trafficking at www.EndSlaveryNow.org and by reading books and watching films on the topic: http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/books-films
- Learn the red flag indicators of human trafficking: http://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/human-trafficking-is-a-health-care-professional-issue
- Human trafficking is happening all around us – at the airport, local salons, restaurants, and many more public places. Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number (1-888-373-7888) in your phone. If you suspect someone has been trafficked, call. Your 5 minutes could save someone’s life.
- As consumers, we are, in many cases, unknowingly contributing to the demand for products produced by slave labor. Find out how many slaves work for you based on the products you buy: http://www.endslaverynow.org/slavery-footprint
- Switch to fair trade products, particularly in industries that are known for using slave labor such as the coffee bean and cocoa bean industries. Download a slave-free buying guide now: http://www.endslaverynow.org/slave-free-buying-guide
- There are hundreds of anti-trafficking organizations doing amazing work to combat slavery. Many of them could use your help. Find an organization to volunteer for: http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect.
- Stay engaged in the fight. Sign up at www.EndSlaveryNow.org to receive weekly emails with small actions you can take each week to fight slavery. Those small actions add up to make a big impact.
Please join the fight. Until all are free
Initiative Manager, Modern-Day Slavery