Monday, January 10, 2011

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2011

Civilized society has at its foundation the rule of law and the expectation by the average citizen that those laws will be enforced, with no respect to gender, race, age or financial status. Those that benefit most from civilized society are those most susceptible to being exploited by the uncivilized elements of society, namely the feeble, the sick, and especially children. And so it is, as it has always been, by the very definition, that the defenseless need defenders.

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Today is the day when the evil of human trafficking comes under the eye of national scrutiny once again. Today is the day for steeling the national resolve against this evil. Today is the day when we decide if we are a civil society dedicated to protecting the most susceptible among us.

During the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade, over ten million people were bought and sold. It took tireless individuals, who would not be silenced, who demanded the equality of the law, to slowly turn the tide of public opinion in America against the diabolical practice of slavery. And yet today there are more slaves than ever.
Today there are close to 30 million people living in some form of slavery, many of those are children, all living in societies with laws to protect them, laws that make their bondage illegal. Today more than ever the voice of civilized society must be heard over the machine of commerce that still profits from cheap, slave labor. Today the voice of civilized society must scream to be heard over the decadent laughter of the pimps and johns who rape little girls. Today civilized society must speak out, with relentless abandon, for those who have no voice.

But how?

1. By supporting legislation that allocates funds for our government to help other countries who have the political will but lack the resources to fight human trafficking. In January, International Justice Mission will be working with House and Senate members who are passionate about ending slavery to introduce the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), legislation which will provide the State Department’s Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Office the resources it needs to protect vulnerable people from slavery around the world. We will let you know when this legislation makes it to committee as it will take all of our voices speaking out together, telling our congressman that we support it, to get it signed into law.

2. We can, as generations past had to, stop enjoying cheap goods made with slave labor. Fairtrade offers resources for each of us as consumers to have confidence that the products we consume are slave free. Not For Sale Campaign has a Free To Work Initiative, including an Iphone app that lets you instantly know what brands are certified slave labor free. Rugmark International has a project called Goodweave that is a watchdog in the carpet and rug industry. We can speak out against irresponsible companies by boycotting their goods until they come into compliance.

3. We can live simpler lives and reduce consumption to free up our financial resources and make them available to groups that are on the front-lines of the fight against human trafficking. We can live below our means and use the surplus to fund organizations that are investing into the lives of rescued slaves, healing their brokenness and giving them hope for the future. Groups like:

International Justice Mission

My Rescue House

Shared Hope International

Project Rescue

And finally, we can decide today to be tireless in our pursuit of justice. To fight with the same indefatigable passion for the enslaved, the trafficked, the sexually exploited, as we would if they were our children, our parents, or our spouses. Today the tide can begin to turn. Today civilized society can say no more to this evil. Today we can offer hope for the hopeless. Today we can be the defenders. Today we we can, today we must, because tomorrow is too late.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Great post! You might also check out Not My Life, a film that just premiered in New York ( I'm not sure when it will be available nationwide, but it deals with the very issues you talk about.

    Also as a clarification, the whole RugMark organization has rebranded to GoodWeave. More information on the rebrand and our expanded certification (still a work in progress!) on