(Photo by Paula Watts Photography)
What could I possibly do to cultivate more awareness to human trafficking? Can I actually make a impact in such an overwhelming crisis?
The concept of ending the multifaceted and complex problem that is human trafficking can be overwhelming. Sometimes it is hard to conceptualize how one person can make a difference. We know that to create systemic, long term change, it takes all of us-- a unified force--choosing to do one thing differently every day. When we all work together, even our small actions have collective power. Today, we have a guide on how anyone can be an activist and help to end or prevent human trafficking.
KNOW THE INDICATORS
Know indicators associated with human trafficking to stop it. Understanding the indicators and root causes of trafficking enables each of us to recognize suspicious or dangerous activity. Learn the indicators of human trafficking, like someone appearing malnourished, having no financial records or bank account, or showing a lack of knowledge of their whereabouts. Once you know the indicators you can play your part in stopping the activity. Polaris is an incredible resource, and has taken steps to outline the signs for recognizing when someone is being trafficked, check out more at PolarisProject.org.
Report Suspicious Activity and Know How to Take Action
Once you know the indicators, report on them to the responsible authorities. To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733). Once you have reported suspicious activity to responsible authorities they can take prompt action to stop instances of human trafficking.
BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
Do you pay attention to how your food got to your plate and whether the clothes you are wearing were produced under safe working conditions? The greater the distance between consumer and manufacturer, the harder it has become to really know where clothes come from, who makes them, and the saddest question: who cares?! No doubt it feels exciting to find a bargain and pay less than full retail. However, this “getting more for less” mentality is doing more harm than good, and it’s got a name: ‘Fast Fashion.’ Every time you spend money you vote with your wallet, this means you can empower brands to change or champion virtuous supply chains with your own voting dollars. Organizations like Not My Style and Baptist World Aid Australia and their Behind the Barcode program help consumers navigate brands they can trust with ethical fashion guides.
TALK ABOUT IT
Talk about what you know, share the indicators of human trafficking, conscious consumerism, and steps we each can take to take to maximize the number of people who are working against human trafficking in your community. Human trafficking is a problem facing every community, and is not something we can ignore--we have to start educating ourselves. Bring this up when you are talking about your favorite brands, where you shop, and how you make buying decisions. Encourage your local schools to partner with students and include modern slavery in their courses. As a parent, brother, sister, or educator, be aware of how traffickers target school-aged children. The more we recognize how much power we have in our communities, the more we are able to combat trafficking together.
More about Shannon Keith
A trip to India in 2005 inspired Shannon to take action and begin an innovative business venture. Her drive to disrupt the social enterprise space and create lasting impact for survivors of and those at the highest risk of sex trafficking has led her to found and cultivate Sudara, a thriving benefit corporation. Sudara’s mission is rooted in job creation for women in India. Sudara products support the training and jobs for the women who make them, and also help to fund the non-profit arm that allows the organization to provide for those same women across their entire ecosystem. More than a give-back model, her organization enables women to have freedom-filled choices for themselves and for their families. Shannon is a 2016 Bend Venture Conference (BVC) Social Impact Winner, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) member, TedX Speaker and was selected as a Top 25 SheEO World Venture Finalist. She was the recipient of the 2017 Bend Chamber of Commerce Female Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been featured in The Good Trade,Conscious Magazine, Real Simple, and Forbes.