What Can I do to Stop Human Trafficking?
It is shocking to discover that slavery exists in our time. The images are horrifying. You, naturally, want to take action! But where do you start?
Well, it’s easier than you think to get involved. And, since human trafficking is on the rise around the world – including right in your back yard – it is more important than ever that each of us does everything we can.
There are two primary ways for most of us to fight human trafficking:
1. By altering our buying habits.
The easiest way for each of us to begin the process of stopping slavery and human trafficking is to make it less profitable for the traffickers! That means becoming aware of how the products of slavery are marketed and sold and finding alternatives.
For instance, did you know that the cotton supply chain is very difficult to follow. Clothing manufacturers are, in large part, quite stubborn when it comes to verifying where their materials come from and ensuring that slave labor is not used to grow or harvest the raw material, manufacture the cloth or the clothing. By watching for the World Fair Trade Logo you can be sure that the manufacturer has applied the 10 high standards of the World Fair Trade Organization to ensure that fair wages were paid and high standards maintained.
Of course, it is relatively easy these days to find fair trade chocolate and coffee, and extremely important that we do so. Both chocolate and coffee are susceptible to the slave trade since they are grown in remote regions with heavy vegetation and often forbidding landscapes. Children are sometimes stolen or sold from the poverty-ridden surrounding regions into slavery to work as labor on these plantations. At other times, children are tempted with promises of lucrative paid positions that turn out to be unpaid slave labor jobs. Citizens of both Britain and Australia have proven that chocolate companies can be encouraged to provide Fair Trade chocolate alternatives in their product lines when people band together to boycott the products that are produced by slaves. Do you think you could give up your M&Ms or your Snicker’s bar to help with this effort?
To help you find fairly traded products, Free 2 Work, an organization funded by The Not For Sale Campaign, has produced both a website resource and a FREE iPHONE APPLICATION that grades the Fair Trade efforts of individual manufacturers.
In addition, the World Fair Trade Organization works with regional organizations like Fair Trade (TransFair) USA, the organization responsible for certifying fair trade products in the United States, TransFair Canada which certifies fair trade products in Canada, and FairTrade Foundation TransFair, certifier of fair trade products in the UK.
Lastly, stop buying sex. Prostitution is too often seen as a victimless crime. We now know that, far more often than we previously assumed, women who are involved in prostitution find themselves in this trade as a result of horrific and traumatic “conditioning” that leaves with no resources for escape.
2. By reporting trafficking when we see it.
If you suspect someone has been trafficked, call the:
Department of Health and Human Services-sponsored, toll-free, 24 hour
NATIONAL HOTLINE: +1-888-3737-888
Department of Justice-sponsored, toll-free, 24 hour
Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line
These hotlines will help you determine if you have encountered victims of human trafficking, will identify local resources available in your community to help victims, and will help you coordinate with local social service organizations.
You can also call:
We can stop slavery in our lifetime. Start here. And keep coming back because we are all learning together. This page is updated often.