5 on Friday: What to do for Human Trafficking Awareness Month

For Christmas, our family received matching bracelets, on which are written “It Matters To This One.” They were part of an adoption fundraiser, and though we have no connection to the family, we are 100-percent behind the sentiment.

Because we can’t change everything for everyone, but we can change one thing, or maybe some things, for a few.

ER-little good

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. And while human trafficking is an overwhelming issue–an estimated 27 million people enslaved around the world today–it doesn’t have to be a paralyzing one.

ER-human-trafficking-awareness

What will you do?

What can we do?

I don’t have a lot of answers, and frankly, I always want to do more than I’m currently doing.

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But here are five options.

1. Learn all you can about human trafficking. Maybe you don’t know what it is or why it’s a problem or how it affects your life. Maybe you have a basic understanding but you want to do something. Some good places to start online are Love146, IJM and The Exodus Road.

2. Get connected. I wouldn’t know what I do about human trafficking if I hadn’t connected with The Exodus Road more than a year ago to join their blogging partnership. Now that I’m aware of what they do, I’m more aware of what’s available in my city. A goal this year is to connect in person with one of the many organizations where I live that are working in anti-trafficking. Social media can only take you so far, but it’s a good place to start.

3. Shop better. We spend a lot of money on stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if some of that money helped people have a better life? My friends at Imagine Goods create jobs for women by commissioning dresses, tablecloths, bags, napkins, skirts and aprons, among other things. And they aren’t the only ones working to provide jobs, especially for women, that pay a fair and living wage in impoverished countries. When we pay a little more for the things we love–coffee, tea, clothing–we’re helping keep fellow human beings out of unsafe working conditions and overwhelming poverty. 

4. Tell others. I’ve learned the most about trafficking through people who are willing to speak up. I, in turn, am doing what I can to spread the word. You can start by sharing quotes on Facebook, retweeting Twitter statuses and pinning images on Pinterest. You have a network, and you can use it for good. We rarely are affected by something the first time we see it. But if we see it over and over again, from different circles of influence, we’re more likely to learn more and check it out.

5. Pray. You don’t have to believe in God to be involved in abolition, but if you do believe in God, I wonder why you wouldn’t want to be involved in abolition? Historically, the abolitionist movement has involved people of faith, and I believe prayer aids the work of freedom.

Let this benediction also be your prayer.

ER-blessing

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