Written By: Malea Otranto, End Trafficking Project
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The International Labor Orginization estimates there are about 21 million trafficking victims worldwide. That’s more than the entire population of Scandinavia - including Norway, Sweden and Denmark. That’s three times more than the population of New York City. That’s more than double the population of Australia.
Human trafficking happens all across our world. People are forced to sew the clothes we wear, they’re forced to fish the shrimp we eat, and they’re forced to pick the tomatoes we buy. But human trafficking does not just happen across our world. People - often children - are bought and sold here in the United States. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, in 2015 alone there were over 4,168 reported cases of human trafficking here in the United States.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month - and we’re asking our supporters to do more than just pass that information along. Do you want to create a world where exploitation does not exist? If the answer to that question is yes, then all throughout the month in January, try to tackle these three take action steps:
1. Learn more about human trafficking - it’s as easy as spending 10 minutes going a Google search, reading an article, listen to our new podcast series or downloading our toolkit to become more familiar with the topic.
2. Lessen your own slavery footprint. When you are out food shopping about to put those groceries inside your cart, or when you’re trying on that new coat you’re about to buy - do you ever stop for a second to think of where those products came from? Often times, they come from exploited labor. Go on to slaveryfootprint.org and spend 15 minutes inputting data (like the food you eat, how much makeup you wear, etc) to see how many exploited people work for you. Then, more importantly, find out how you can decrease your own imprint and become a conscious consumer.
3. Host a Not My Life Film Screening. Not My Life offers a holistic depiction of trafficking not only around the world, but in the United States as well. It provides survivor stories of men, women and children, and is a crucial documentary to help educate and inform your friends, colleagues, and community. If you want a free DVD copy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With each and every tiny step by each and every person, we can live in a world where exploitation does not exist. As community members, students, activists, and human beings that care about the dignity of other human beings, it’s our responsibility to help create that world. It takes all of us, and it starts today.