Slavery? In the 21st Century?

Many people are led to believe that slavery was abolished centuries ago. Perhaps in some forms it has, well at least formally, so that it is no longer an accepted or legal practice. But informally, slavery or human trafficking is alive and well.

Human trafficking operates all over the world most commonly as forced labor or sex slavery. Women and children are traded and used as cheap commodities, yielding their oppressors more money than they can by selling drugs. It enslaves those who are exploited for generations, so that there is often no escape. And it absolutely has to stop!

Tomorrow, January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations over the U.S. are calling upon Americans to become more aware of the millions the world over who are victims of this awful crime. Awareness is a step in the right direction, in that you cannot stop something you know nothing about. But what we need is an international movement that will put pressure on governments and law enforcement around the world, including our own, to see that this thing stops.

An article on bangstyle.com provides a few tips for people who are looking for ways that they themselves can help the cause:
1. Educate yourself on the statistics. Knowledge is power, and the more you are aware of the reality of modern day issues, the more you can do to take an active part in contributing to the cause.

2. Gather a group of your friends together to have a bake off or dinner party, and each donate $5-$10 to an anti-trafficking charity.

3. Raise awareness through social networking. President Obama declared that the month of January would be to raise awareness about human trafficking. Post statistics and ways to help as a status update to your friends.

4. Affect change: Whether you are a survivor or someone who desires to see an end to modern-day slavery, everyone has the power to affect trafficking policy on every level. Let your local, state and federal representatives know you expect them to pass legislation that will crack down on traffickers and provide victims with the support services they need to put their lives back together.

5. Report a crime: It’s impossible for law enforcement officials to be aware of every single trafficking and slavery case in their area without support and tips from the community. It’s up to you to take action when you suspect someone is being held against their will.

Here is a video provided by ecpat-usa which details the personal story of someone affected by sex trafficking:

What I Have Been Through is Not Who I Am from ECPAT-USA on Vimeo.

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