“Why do we know more about Paris Hilton than we know about slavery (40)?” Today, we would ask, “Why do we know more about Beyonce or Miley Cyrus than we know about slavery?” “Why is the media more focused on which celebrity is in what rehab center or wearing which fashion designer to an awards show (40)?” When there is indeed “shows” going on in our communities but we are not opening our eyes to pay attention. The shows in which I am speaking are the buying and selling of children, women, and men for entertainment or sexual pleasure and work. If you are a resident of Washington DC or the following states, people in your community are most susceptible to human trafficking:
California, Texas, Florida, New York, District of Columbia, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
Anyone can also go to websites such as Polaris Project to see what the human trafficking situation is in your state. There are great organizations that are taking a stand against human trafficking. Here are just a few of them:
International Justice Mission (IJM) “seeks to restore to victims of oppression the things that God intends for them: their lives, their liberty, their dignity, the fruits of their labor. By defending and protecting individual human rights, IJM seeks to engender hope and transformation for those it serves and restore a witness of courage in places of oppressive violence.”
World Relief empowers the local Church to serve the most vulnerable people and envision them transformed economically, socially, and spiritually.
Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS) vision “is to end the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children”
Not for Sale (NFS) “mission is to create a world where no one is for sale.”
Somaly Mann Foundation “mission is to give victims and survivors a voice in their lives, liberate victims, end slavery, and empower survivors as they create and sustain lives of dignity.”
Free the Slaves mission is to “liberate slaves around the world and change the systems that allow slavery to exist.”
I encourage you to research these organizations, contact them, and see how you can offer support.
Some of these organizations react to this crime by offering jobs, training, care and support to victims or survivors of human trafficking. They faithfully provide these services all across the world. Some of these organizations, like IJM and Free the Slaves, are also quite effective in tackling the systemic problems that allow slavery to exist. This is critical work and we need to tackle this issue on all levels. Therefore, it is also important to also know what is going on in your own community and how you can prevent human trafficking from happening at home. Mentoring, loving, and speaking truth into the life of a child can help prevent trafficking. Paying attention and reporting suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 is also preventive. Educating others in your area of influence helps prevent. Praying is also an effective action plan. I agree with author, Kimberly McOwen Yim, when she writes, “It took some time for me to understand that what the movement really needed was more everyday people (42).” So please take a look into these organizations, educate yourself concerning your local community, and take appropriate action.
What are the other organizations we should know about? Please list information in the comment section.