January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Today is not just for education, but for action.
Put an End to Modern-day Slavery. That has been the consistent message and desire of advocates. For at least two years, I have been lobbying with the International Justice Mission so Congress would pass the End Modern Day Slavery Initiative (EMSI). Take a look at this video we did:
After a lot of prayers, persistence, and hard work, language from this legislation was recently authorized in December 2016.
With a new legislation and Congress, we now need to ensure that this initiative is fully funded. You can help us in this effort by simply signing your name to a petition. You may think to yourself, “Signing my name won’t make a difference.” I am here to say that you are wrong.
We have a goal of getting 100,000 signatures. That’s A LOT of names. So your name, plus the names of your family members and friends, and your co-workers names, those you attend church, work-out, and/or enjoy hobbies with all matter indeed. We are going to need many people to share the word and make this ask of our friends and neighbors.
You may ask, “Why do you need 100,000 names?” Some faithful folks who have been doing this work much longer than me, and who pay attend to how things work in Washington have determined that this is the number that gets politicians attention.
Will you take a minute to add your name? Sign the petition now.
Here are a few things that you need to know:
What is human-trafficking or modern-day slavery?
Much like the drug or guns industry, human trafficking is an organized crime and multi-billion dollar industry with several layers of operations which allow it to persist.
Merriam-Webster online defines human trafficking as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (as by being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor).”
We use the terms “human trafficking” and “modern-day slavery” interchangeably. Most people hear about sex trafficking; however, sex trafficking (including forced prostitution and pornography) is only one way in which trafficked persons are forced to labor. Other forms of forced labor include, though are not limited to, agricultural work, domestic work, and being service providers (in places like massage parlors, hair braiding salons, and nail shops).
People who are trafficked become slaves. Merriam-Webster online defines a slave as “a.) someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay and b.) a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something.” Slavery is illegal in every country in the modern world; therefore, this definition is not suitable.
Not For Sale provides a more accurate definition of modern-slavery:
Slavery occurs when one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence, to maintain that control, exploits them economically and they cannot walk away.
They also include the three main components of the trafficking definition:
- “The action of trafficking; which means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons
- The means of trafficking; which includes threat of our use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability
- The purpose of trafficking; which is always exploitation.”
According to the Global Slavery Index, there are approximately 45 million people are trapped in slavery today.
What is the EMSI? Why does this matter?
The EMSI is using research and proven success models to free slaves and offer restoration. If funded, this legislation will:
- Enforce laws that punish slave owners and traffickers;
- Set clear, defined goals and measureable outcomes to ensure success; and
- Achieve a measurable reduction of modern slavery in targeted populations.
Congress is now able to put money towards this initiative, but that does not mean that they will. Congress must appropriate spending towards this effort for us to reap the benefits of this hard work. Currently, this bill is passed AND not funded.
This petition will inform the new president and Congress that Americans see this bill as a priority to fund.
Ending Modern-Day Slavery is important to all of us.
What does the petition say?
The language is simple:
Dear President Trump and Members of Congress:
Today, approximately 45 million men, women, and children are enslaved. Last year, Republicans and Democrats in Congress worked together to direct new funding to end slavery—for good. Today, the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI) Foundation stands ready to direct this funding toward proven models that will rescue slaves, apprehend slave-holders and traffickers, and ensure survivors receive the support they need to thrive in freedom. Please ensure these programs are fully funded by supporting $36 million for this initiative in the 2018 appropriations bill.
As an American, I believe we cannot rest until all are free. I trust you share this conviction.
Sign the petition now.
Until all are free, Natasha