Fighting Exploitation and Human Trafficking in 2021

Elena Baxter

Learning about exploitation and Human trafficking, the greatest offense on humanity, and the oldest, starts with awareness and should progress into action. Unfortunately, this all consuming and fast evolving industry has produced more slaves today than at any time in history. According to the US State Department, there are approximately 24.9 million human trafficking victims globally, and approximately 100,000 to 150,000 people held as commercial slaves in the US alone. 

While the causes of human trafficking is actually layered in complications, it’s driven by exploitation. Economic, social and political factors are all linked in the nature of its complexity. According to Stop the Traffik, there are many forms of exploitation that lead to a person being held in slavery regardless of age, socio-economic background or gender. The various types of exploitation include: sexual exploitation, labor exploitation, domestic servitude, forced marriage, forced criminality, child soldiers and organ harvesting. 

Human trafficking is big business. According to the International Labor Organzation (ILO), it is a $150 billion industry in illegal profits each year. Two-thirds of that money came from commercial sexual exploitation, while the rest is from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture, child labor and related activities. According to Bradley Myles, chief executive officer of Polaris Project, the nonprofit organization that runs the national human-trafficking hotline in the United States:

While many human trafficking activities remain underground, an increased understanding of how human traffickers use legitimate services has helped companies in various industries begin to crack the business of human trafficking. In many instances, private sector initiated efforts to combat human trafficking (often as part of their corporate social responsibility activities) have also helped companies position themselves as “service provider of choice." 

These privacy sector initiatives include: Banking, hotel industry, healthcare sector.

Eight actionable ways to be part of the disruption of exploitation and human trafficking:
Those that have endured the trauma of exploitation, or those that may be at-risk usually lack the opportunity or resources for a sustainable and slavery-free lifestyle. Thus, it’s important for our awareness, both in the private and public sectors, to turn into action. Below are 10 ways to be part of the solution.

  1. Keep educating yourself. You can take a training course through the official U.S. Department of State site on the indicators of human trafficking, what questions to ask and where to get help. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.

  2. If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911. Trafficking victims, whether or not U.S. citizens, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.

  3. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.

  4. Support these fantastic Organizations:

5. Inform yourself about conscious consumerism. Find out more about who may have made your clothes or produced your coffee. Visit, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor

6. Host an awareness-raising event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking. You can screen movies and documentaries like: In Plain Sight Film, Nefarious Merchant of Souls and I am Jane Doe. learn how modern slavery exists today; watch an investigative documentary about sex trafficking; or discover how forced labor can affect global food supply chains. Work with local community centers, coffee shops or host them on zoom.

7. Keep raising awareness. Leverage your personal social media platforms, relationships and talents to raise awareness. Some great hashtags to help you build a community include: #endtrafficking, #freedomfirst, #enditmovement

8. Support with your dollars. Up until recent years, we relied on supply chains with underpaid, underage and harsh working environments to produce nearly anything and everything we bought. Now every industry from fashion to food demand transparency and now you can shop and know exactly where your clothes, coffee, artwork, shoes, etc. come from and by whom they are touched and created.

Check out some of these products in the Sunday Market that support the anti-exploitation and trafficking movement. Take an extra 10% off with code, FIGHT2021.

Mother Of Pearl Gold Dipped Stud Earrings

These handcrafted earrings employ and provide economic empowerment for woman at-risk and rescued from exploitation and human trafficking in South East Asia. Each woman aslo receives holistic care (counseling, education and health care). 


Agora Jar Basket - Natural (Set of 2)


Each product is sustainably handmade by Fair Trade artisans in Bangladesh and made from 100% natural materials.


Handmade Black Quartz Pendant Necklace

This piece was handcrafted by an artisan in the TARA (Trade Alternative Reform Action) Projects. The TARA Projects  employs more than 1000 artisan families directly and indirectly by providing sustainable income through handicraft production. They provide education and health care to the families of makers and impart training and capacity building to enhance producer skills. The organization is committed to providing support services to the marketing of handicrafts on Fair Trade principles, while addressing community developmental needs of the artisan makers.

Party Pendant Earrings

These handcrafted earrings employ and provide economic empowerment for woman at-risk and rescued from exploitation and human trafficking in South East Asia. Each woman aslo receives holistic care (counseling, education and health care). 


Adira Oxford Shoes for Women by Lordess- Primitive 2.0

These handcrafted shoes are part of the slow fashion and small batch design movement. Each pair is produced and carried out ethically in a small atelier in Istanbul, Turkey by passionate artisans with impeccable skill sets that were passed down from generations of shoemakers. 

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