#WearBlueDay: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

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#WearBlueDay: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

In 2007, the US Senate established January 11th as the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness. In 2010, President Barack Obama declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Part of the US government’s information campaign about combating human trafficking and modern day enslavement is #WearBlueDay, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. What can you do to honor this important day?

Wear Blue

Participating in #WearBlueDay is simple. You can put on a blue article of clothing or pin a blue ribbon on your shirt or lapel. Some individuals and groups get a little bit more ambitious. For example, some cities and municipalities light up local landmarks, buildings, or bridges with blue light. Regardless of how you choose to participate you are encouraged to take pictures and circulate them on social media. Creativity is encouraged!

Educate Yourself

While spreading awareness on social media is important, it is vital to take the extra step of educating yourself in order to become a modern day abolitionist. One great resource is End Slavery Now, a project of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a site filled with educational resources and action ideas to help answer the question, “What can I do?”

For example, you can learn to recognize the signs that someone you encounter is being trafficked, such as:

  • They are accompanied by someone who insists on speaking for them, even if they are a teenager or adult.
  • They do not seem to know what city they are in.
  • They are uneasy around uniformed personnel.
  • If in an airport or hotel, they do not have luggage or a carry-on bag.

Of course, these are not definite signs someone is being trafficked, but a combination of them should serve as a red flag. If you suspect someone is being trafficked, you should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Become a Modern Day Abolitionist

End Slavery Now also includes information about other organizations combating the scourge of modern day enslavement. These range from large NGOs like Polaris to local charities like End Slavery Cincinnati. Large or small, all share the same goal:  to eradicate slavery in all its forms. Many of these organizations post job or volunteer opportunities if you are looking to become a modern day abolitionist.

This National Human Trafficking Awareness month, opt to educate yourself about the realities of human trafficking and modern day enslavement. Know what’s out there and what you can do about it. It’s a new year so it’s the perfect time to adopt a new commitment to fight the good fight!

Jonathan Turbin, Coordinator of Initiatives against Modern Day Slavery

End Slavery Now and works to build relationships among anti-trafficking organizations in and around Cincinnati. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon.

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