January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month — and today, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day!
You may have heard the gruesome statistics, such as:
- In 2016 (the most recent global data we have), on any given day it’s likely that 40 million were stuck in modern slavery, which includes coerced domestic, construction, factory, farm, fishing, and sex work
- 71% of modern slavery victims were women and girls
- 25% were children
- Women and girls made up 99 percent of victims in the sex industry
- Over 1 million children were commercially sexually exploited(CSEC)
- Of the 3.8 million people sexually exploited for commercial gain, over 70% were exploited in the Asia and Pacific region
But awareness about trafficking means more than just numbers.
It means teaching our children their right to bodily integrity, teaching them to believe in their self-worth.
It means teaching families the value of their children’s education and their right to self-determination.
It means teaching better communication, and more sustainable living practices for more resilient communities.
It means teaching families, schools, and communities how to avoid risk and vulnerability to trafficking.
It means teaching men to value women. To value children. To believe that sex should never come without enthusiastic and informed consent. To believe, period, when anyone says “me too.”
It means teaching communities how trafficking affects us all, even when we’re not among the trafficked.
It means teaching potential advocates how to identify victims and get them to safety.
It means teaching policymakers, law enforcement, and NGOs how to engage in better practices, and how to learn from each other.
It means learning how to see those who are most vulnerable, no matter where they may hide.
It means learning how to do better by victims.
It means learning how to be proactive about prevention.
On the 11th day of Trafficking Awareness Month, I give you these 11 ways we can all raise awareness about trafficking and the role we all have to play in reducing or eliminating it.
Human Trafficking is a global problem, but YOU can be part of the solution. Spread the word, and if you can, invest in prevention with a donation now! What better way to start 2018?
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Ed Only)