When I first began to learn about human trafficking while I was in college—more than 10 years ago now—I was convicted of two things. First, I knew that this industry that exploits men, women and children needed to be stopped. The fastest growing crime in the world needed to be brought down. Second, I was convinced that in order for me to make an impact, I needed to make this my full-time career.
I couldn’t have been more wrong about my second conviction. Although I have been lucky enough that my professional life thus far has been in the anti-trafficking field, doing so has helped me realize how much everyone is needed to fight for the freedom of those enslaved—not just anti-trafficking practitioners.
Everyone has the potential to make a difference through their daily choices.
Here are 10 ways you can fight human trafficking.
Live an inclusive life
Most survivors have a history of being among the most marginalized in our society—foster kids, single moms, undocumented workers, asylum seekers, LGBTQ members, women in the sex industry or those experiencing poverty. Offering a place of belonging, surrounded by supportive people can limit further vulnerabilities.
Leave room for these individuals in your daily life. Live a life that leaves room for people to be their true authentic self and that allows for people to bring their pain to you. Be available to connect with people on a deeper level.
Research your local context and share how the problem of human trafficking affects your community.
Join your local human trafficking task force see how you can fill a gap.
Use your strengths
Think about what you can bring to the table and the conversation. What are your strengths? Maybe you are a finance professional and can help lead financial literacy classes at your local anti-trafficking program? Maybe you are in marketing and can create a social media awareness campaign for your city’s local human trafficking task force?
Ask for help
Many people think that buying sexual services from someone in prostitution is the main way to fuel human trafficking, yet this is simply incorrect. However, there is a strong interconnectedness between pornography and sexual exploitation: how pornography is frequently made of people while they’re in prostitution, how traffickers use popular trends in porn to inform the activities they force victims to engage in, how exposure to porn can normalize violence and make us less compassionate toward victims of sexual exploitation.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with an addiction to pornography, it’s okay to ask for help.
Buy products that support survivors
You can contribute to the restoration process by buying survivor-made products. Amazing organizations out there sell handmade products. One of my favorites is Thistle Farm.
Make informed purchasing decisions
Learn about the companies that are notorious for unethical practices, including the use of slave labor. One eye-opening film to learn more about this is The True Cost on Netflix.
Refusing to buy from companies like these is a good start, but it can feel daunting. One tip I received is to start with one item. Try fair-trading your coffee.
Be dedicated to social justice
The Bible tells us that Jesus cared deeply about the social causes around him. As Jesus followers, we recognize that our society is filled with numerous groups and communities facing systemic oppression, and we must act.
Whether it’s by volunteering your time, donating your money or helping to fundraise, we all can give something.
Pay attention and report
Get to know the red flags and signs of human trafficking and report things that don’t feel or look right.
Add the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number to your contacts: 888-3737-888.
This number is available to help survivors, answer questions and report tips. Hotline advocates are available 24/7. All tips are confidential and you can remain anonymous.
Your job isn’t to be sure it’s human trafficking, but simply to report it.
- Human trafficking happens everywhere. Did you know that? Get our guide on 10 surprising things about the business of stealing freedom for profit.
- Visit westernusa.salvationarmy.org to find The Salvation Army nearest you.
- Give to support the fight for good in your community.
- Your story, your voice, matter. Join in our free course today and dive into the email workshop and related workbook to find your voice, own your story and share it with others.