In summary, this is a day where bloggers of all genres link their virtual arms and come together to post on one issue, this year's being human rights.
I was fairly stumped as to what to write about and then I became stumped as to why I was stumped in the first place, because I knew this should be such an easy topic. Human rights spans from legalizing lesbian and gay marriage to human exploitation with issues scattered in between. I guess the problem was more of choosing a topic from an issue that has so many to pick from.
After going as far as the second page on Google, I decided that Human Trafficking was calling my name. It's a HUGE issue. So huge that people don't even notice it in a certain aspect. Ignorance leads them to believe that these modern day slaves are working in the far corners of Asia and in third world countries scattered about in Africa. In reality it happens right here in the illusion of America. A place that we think is full of happiness and good people and prospering times (okay that was probably a far fetched statement but bear with me). Also human trafficking doesn't just involve sex like most people think, but forced labor as well.
The average age in which an American minor enters the trade is between 12 and 14, many of which are runaway girls who suffered sexual abuse as children. The estimates vary as to exactly how many people are trafficked through the U.S. each year but some numbers go as high as 17,500 with East Asia/the Pacific being the largest source.
And by no means do we just need to bring awareness to America's side of this tragic problem. It's a worldwide issue involving 27 million slaves. Fifty percent of the transnational slaves (meaning they are moved from country to country, state to state) are children. Not to mention, there's a worldwide total of 2 million children (UNICEF) involved in this 32 billion dollar industry (Side note: the Polaris Project notes that there are only one million children involved, but I have since learned that figure is outdated). These are children who can't consent to crossing the road, yet alone sexual "deeds" and unheard of work hours. As if this isn't one big box of awfulness, the Sex Trade Industry is also the engine of the AIDS epidemic.
But now that you're all informed, it's time to learn how we fight this global issue.
We already sort of already nailed this one in the head, but be informed. Learn. Understand. Know what's happening. Grasp what could be taking place a few streets down from your own house. An attorney who prosecutes human trafficking cases said that convincing a jury that this sort of thing happens is the biggest hurdle she has to jump over. Most are in such disbelief and overwhelmed by the horrors of sex trafficking that they have difficulty believing that this is even true. She encourages people to become informed and inform others on this industry so if you would happen to serve on a jury for a case concerning sex trafficking, you would be able to rule fairly.
Protect by Prevention
Be aware of trafficker's methods and inform children and other teenagers. Prevent yourself or others from becoming victims. Most of them are portrayed as runaways and although this is true, it also happens to every day children who go to school and brush their teeth and eat Lucky Charms. It can happen to anyone.
888-373-7888 is the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Use this number to report situations of human trafficking. Learn the red flags that often indicate that a child or person could be a victim of trafficking.
Poverty and low social class makes a trafficker's lies seem more appealing. Consider sponsoring a child who lives in an area where child trafficking is abundant.
Volunteer your time with a group that specializes in ending, preventing, and helping those caught in the web of human trafficking.
Sign a Petition
Let your voice be heard by a few simple clicks. A good list of petitions can be found here and since I've already linked this site twice in one blog post, I guess I should mention and suggest you checking this site out a little more in detail. I've already bookmarked it so I can come back and explore more.
Watch and Discuss Recent Human Trafficking Documentaries
There's an excellent list that you can find here. Also don't be afraid to scour the internet and youtube for more videos.
Discover Your Slavery Footprint
Like I said before, human trafficking doesn't always mean they're forced to consent to sexual practices but can also mean they are slaves of forced labor. Discover your slavery footprint and learn what you can do to reduce it. Also check out the Department of Labor's List of Goods that are produced through forced labor.
This list could go on and on and on. There's so much that we can do while just sitting at home at little cost (hey, I know times are tough). Shares this post. Find other websites and blog posts and spread the word. Do what you can and then some, because together we will fight this.
Have a fabulous day.