Human trafficking. Modern Day Slavery. As time goes by, putting an end to this travesty has become a much bigger and increasingly more popular social issue. Some big names that are HUGE advocates against this injustice are Blake Lively, Ashton Kutcher, Carrie Underwood, Kristen Bell, David Beckham, Emma Thompson, and there are so many more joining and raising awareness!
Thankfully, many more people are becoming aware, while organizations and individuals are continuing or even just starting their efforts in stopping it. It’s a social justice issue I’ve been involved in fighting since I was 14 years old, and I hope to dedicate the rest of my life and career to stopping it, along with empowering and educating others to join me and do the same.
There are so many of my posts and blogs you could read about my fundraising efforts, or trips I’ve taken abroad to work with the survivors and the modern day heroes who are on the front lines of this battle everyday. However, I’m writing this blog to share with you what human trafficking is, what it looks like now, and what YOU can do about it!
What is human trafficking? I’ve inquired of women I’ve worked with in India, as well as organizations here in America to help me answer this question for you with the most accurate and up to date information!
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of fraud, force, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.”1
“Both globally and locally, traffickers are looking for vulnerable people, earning the trust of their victims, and exploiting them. Specifically throughout India it happens different ways, kidnapping, false marriage…false love affair. Promise for a job. Property is also a reason it happens” (Zeenat Anwar, previously an employee with Freedom Firm).
“It is the trade of human beings, it happens by threat, cheating or luring- for the purpose of forced labor or sexual slavery against their will. A crime which transports a human being from one place to another to bring huge monitory benefits to some individual or groups. Most of the times victims cannot apprehend that they are being trafficked, they generally agree to a deal and seemingly give their consent, although in some cases they are forced.” (Smarita of Destiny Foundation)
No one is necessarily exempt from being susceptible to this crime. It doesn’t matter your gender, class, race, neighborhood or family life. I was recently at a fundraising event for a Freedom 4/24, a non-profit whose mission is to see this injustice ended where human trafficking survivor and advocate, Tanya Street, said, “teenagers just want to be and feel loved and cared for. And love is a vulnerability that traffickers WILL exploit.”
I asked Zeenat again, “How can people get involved? What is the best way for people to join us in our fight against human trafficking?” Her answer was simple but profound, and just as easily said as it is done. So why don’t we come together and do it?!
She answered, “People can be involved by praying. Come meet them in person and show them God loves them. Give survivors new opportunities to be independent and feel valuable.”
PRAY! It’s so easy! It actually doesn’t require you to even get out of your bed. No excuses.
Pray for the victims, that they would be rescued and find freedom.
Pray for the survivors, that they would have the help and resources available to come out and assimilate back into their life after the trauma they’ve faced.
Pray for healing, that they’d become advocates and voices for others who have gone through the same thing, that their trafficker would be charged, and that justice would prevail.
Pray for the organizations that are actively fighting and fundraising to change laws and policies, to rescue women, men and children, to create safe homes and places for these survivors to heal, learn, create and grow.
Smarita of The Destiny foundation says “The first step for people to get involved would be to reach out to organizations the work in anti-human trafficking or read and learn about human trafficking. They should keep an eye out in public places or work places for minors with blank and quiet places or who sound vague and confused when you talk to them, don’t hesitate to talk to them and verify the situation by getting more information and inform the police (you can stay anonymous).”
God is a God who loves justice. This was not part of his original plan and He will one day restore all things to himself. For now, our job is to fight on their behalf, stand in their gap, and be the voice for the voiceless. We are their advocates. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”2
Come meet them! Come meet with survivors and just love them! If it’s not possible for you to travel internationally, or to work consistently with at-risk youth or survivors, give and support those who are! Short term missions done right are so effective and impactful! Support them! Support on a regular basis an organization that is committed to this work!
Human trafficking is “estimated to be a $150 billion industry, and the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide”!3 It will take your financial support to fight back! But there are already some amazing people and groups out there doing amazing work, and they can’t do it without the generosity of people like you! Amazon smile actually has IJM (International Justice Mission) as an option. Every purchase you make is money going towards the fight for freedom and justice. It can be that easy!
Last but not least, EDUCATE YOURSELF and others! George Washington Carver said “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” Be equipped and prepared to inform others about what human trafficking is. Get familiar with the statistics and with the stories of survivors. Educate yourself on the tools available to make your kids online time a safer experience. Learn about the policies of schools in your area for trafficking situations. Learn the laws in your state concerning it. There are tools and resources available, and clicking on the links I’ve sourced below are an amazing place to start!
Smarita also included ” People should be careful what they buy because some of the victims work in exploitative factories and the problem remains invisible. People should inquire and ask questions about the manufacturing details, including big brands. Don’t buy the products until you have clarity on the manufacturing details. Just like you are careful about what you eat and drink-or use on your skin-check that the products you buy do not harm others.” You can take this quiz to see how many products and companies you support that may be exploiting men, women, and children for their own personal profit : http://slaveryfootprint.org/.
This is a real problem, and as of right now, it’s not going away. You can be a part of changing that!
You can read through some of my other blogs to see ways I’ve been able to be a part of the fight against human trafficking and I am actually returning to India in January and would love for you to be a part of my trip! I’ll list below some other amazing organizations you might be able to partner with on a more regular and consistent basis!
1 (888) 373-7888 National Human Trafficking Hotline
*2 Proverbs 21:3