The fight to end child trafficking is a crucial part of UNICEF's commitment to protecting the rights and futures of children everywhere. Through our buying habits, we each play a part in creating the demand for child trafficking, which means we also have the power to end it. While this is a serious problem in almost every country around the world, it is not just an international issue. Men, women and children are bought and sold every day in the United States, and, sadly, Houston has been identified as a hub for this criminal activity.
"It was a great learning experience getting to know about efforts being made at reducing human trafficking activities in Houston." - Joel Adekanye, UNICEF USA Volunteer
In January, UNICEF USA Congressional Action Teams (CATs) around the country activated around the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and other End Trafficking Project activities during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. One of the activations that the Houston CAT undertook was connecting with a group of local anti-trafficking organizations to discuss their local/state priorities on this issue and to learn what CAT members could specifically do to combat trafficking both at home and around the world.
"It was fun interacting with organizations who have been striving to raise awareness about human trafficking and its variants through fair trade. I hope such events are more frequently organized because half the problem is solved if people know that human trafficking exists in our society right beside us!" - Diya Chakraborty Lahiri, UNICEF USA Volunteer
One way to help the fight against human trafficking is by practicing conscious consumerism. Choosing products with a Fair Trade label ensures that we buy ethically sourced products. Fair trade then contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.
In celebration of Houston becoming the first Fair Trade city in Texas, United Against Human Trafficking, Fair Trade Houston, Ona Mission, and The Dominican Sisters of Houston hosted a “Fair Trade Fiesta” at A 2nd Cup – a nonprofit coffee shop dedicated to human trafficking awareness in Houston. The Houston CAT members learned more about what this means, how Fair Trade helps fight human trafficking locally and globally and discussed UNICEF USA’s mission to end trafficking while sipping Fair Trade coffee. UNICEF USA Volunteer, Shivani Mukhi, had this to say: “Through this event I was able to discover local stores that are fair trade and I was able to understand what it meant to be a fair trade business. I cannot wait to begin searching for the fair trade label on products I buy from now on.”
“To me, Fair Trade Fiesta was a wake-up call. Sometimes we are so involved in our own lives, that we don't realize there are people out there whose voices need to be heard, but have no method of bringing attention to their cause.”- Alejandra Gueta, UNICEF USA Volunteer