Human Trafficking...that phrase hurts my ears. Its not a fun or easy topic to talk about, but it is real and so much closer to home than any of us probably want to acknowledge.
In just the past decade, so much about this industry has come to light. Education and awareness has grown considerably in the westernized world, leading passionate justice fighters to push for action.
Since January is "Human Trafficking Awareness Month," I wanted to talk about it, but I don't want to tell you how awful the problem is. I want to share with you what is being done about it in hopes that you will search for opportunities to join the fight, and accept civic responsibility for ensuring that the rule of law protects the innocent and bring perpetrators to justice.
I could tell stories, present factoids, and show you videos, but what really makes this month important is the fact that the bell has wrung, the fight is on, and many amazing organizations are in the ring duking this out.
Today, I wanted to share with you about some victories in this space over the past year. Instead of walking away from this conversation feeling overwhelmed, scared, and helpless, I want you to see how the progress of a few organizations is making a huge impact.
(Click on the underlined text to learn more about these people and organizations.)
In October of this past year, Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan signed 20 bills to strengthen human trafficking laws in his state, and to ensure crack downs on offenders and protection for victims.
In 2014, International Justice Mission reported that in Cebu, the number of children available for sexual exploitation in the commercial sex industry plummeted by 79% after four years of work alongside local authorities.
This past December, hundreds of women around the world wore dresses every day for "Dressember" to raise awareness and funds to help fight human trafficking. In 2014, $440k was raised.
In November of this past year, Polaris Project officially announced the launch of the new National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) website. The website has a wealth of resources about human trafficking. For more, visit http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/.
In 2014, Love 146 celebrated 3 new survivor care locations, and over 15,000 children reached with prevention education.
On October 18, 2014, The A21 Campaign hosted its international "Walk for Freedom." The walk, to raise funds for their justice programs, took place in over 30 countries with 2,000 participants.
In June of 2014, to support Project Rescue, 50 cyclists in Cheyenne, Wyoming took to the open road for a 500 mile ride that they completed in just one week to raise awareness and funds for the organization.
In September of 2014, Not for Sale celebrated their first of (hopefully) many graduating classes from their "Reinvent" program. This program gives victims training and relevant, real-life work experience to gear them up to find jobs and create a life for themselves.
The point here is that the list goes on, and on, and on. You probably hear daunting stories of troubling things in the world and think, "I'm only one person. What can I do? What difference can I make?" Well, when thousands of people like you pick up a pen, write, speak, engage, support, rally, and petition, many amazing things happen.
So today...Be Inspire! Fight for Justice! It could be as simple as taking a bike ride or wearing a dress...