Pay a little more for Fair Trade products, particularly coffee. Not only are people bought and sold for sex trafficking, but they are also enslaved for labor. Often people lump “fair trade” and “organic” together. You may see products, particularly coffee, that sport both labels, but they are not the same. Fair trade describes a system of commerce that promotes a sustainable environment, labor rights, a good wage, and healthy working conditions for laborers and their families.
Investigate what is happening in your state and your city related to trafficking. If you are in NC and want to know more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to share what I know about what is happening in the Tar Heel State.
Volunteer with an organization that is working to end modern-day slavery. For two years, I felt virtually helpless to be able to do anything about the trafficking issue since I saw the problem as primarily an international one. Through a God-orchestrated dinner, I became aware that there are over 300 street children in Raleigh, NC alone. This fact mobilized me to take local action. Since then, I’ve begun to connect with people in our community who are actively combatting trafficking as well as an organization based in Washington, D.C. that works internationally. I can’t do everything. But, I can do something.
Keep your eyes open in your community. Here are some key indicators of trafficking, perhaps right in your neighborhood:
- Excessive garbage and trash for the size of the house
- Unusual and irregular hours of entry and exit
- Poorly maintained property, uncut grass, appearance of abandonment
- Unusual large number of residents for the size of the house or apartment
- Unrecognized, abandoned, or large numbers of vehicles parked around the dwelling
- Injuries, signs of physical abuse or torture
- Unkempt appearance with signs of malnutrition
- Unwillingness to have eye contact
- Paranoid and/or overly vigilant behavior by the caregiver Source: PATH -NC
Report information to the authorities. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911. But if the problem is not so urgent, call the National Human Trafficking Tip Line at 1-888-373-7888. If you are traveling by airplane carefully alert the flight attendant.
Talk about the issue with friends, with your pastor, at your children’s schools, and particularly with the teens in your life. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, 1/3 of all runaways are lured into pornography or prostitution. Not only this, but due to our overly sexual culture and a propensity for dangerous activity, teens may be attracted to a trafficker rather than pay attention to the danger.
Ask your local librarian to stock the books I have mentioned, but others as well. Once you begin to research, you will find many other books and DVDs that should be easily available to the public.
Give to organizations that are working to end modern-day slavery. These are just a few of my favorites:
International Justice Mission brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of oppression.
Stella’s Voice visits and ministers to orphans in Moldova and operates several houses for “graduates” to provide them with a safe place to grow, mature in Christ, and develop skills to help them succeed.
The Hope House provides a place of seclusion, restoration, and healing for victims of sex trafficking.
Stop Trafficking Now funds efforts that target the demand side of child sex slavery.
Innocents at Risk fights human trafficking by raising awareness and educating internationally and domestically in the corporate sector, in public schools and universities and among the general public. They also train flight attendants to recognize trafficking situations and how to respond.
Not for Sale equips and mobilizes smart activities to end modern-day slavery.
Pray that the Lord would show you your role in combatting human trafficking, and then take action.
I know I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg to raise awareness and inspire action. I’d love to hear from you. What actions are you taking? Which of the actions I’ve suggested are ones you can see yourself, well, acting upon? Leave me a comment or email me at email@example.com.