How Are You Taking Action During Slavery & Human trafficking Prevention Month?
Shopping for a Change challenges everyone to shop fair trade for many reasons. Choosing fair trade can be a way to ensure a better environment, reduce waste, and live a healthful life. One of the biggest global challenges is slavery and human trafficking. Fair trade means fair wages are paid to the artisans in our communities, which helps to ensure we aren’t supporting slavery, forced labor, child labor, or human trafficking.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP), is a modern-day form of slavery. It is a crime under federal and international law. It is also a crime in every state in the United States. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age. For more about the law and the different types of slavery and trafficking, go THIS LINK.
This year, 2019, our Shopping for a Change community service project is in partnership with Sudara. All purchases and donations in 2018 contributed to the funds we provide to Sudara in order to provide safe housing and job training to women and girls who have escaped human trafficking in India. You can continue to support this cause by donating to Shopping for a Change or shopping at Sudara.
There’s even more we can do on top of buying fair trade goods!
Know the Signs
The National Human Trafficking Hotline website offers these red flag indicators. This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Indicators reference conditions a potential victim might exhibit.
Common Work and Living Conditions:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
- Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
- Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
- Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
- High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior:
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health:
- Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
- Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
Lack of Control:
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
- Loss of sense of time
- Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
Be A Myth-Buster
Myth: human trafficking is only sex trafficking
Truth: of the 20.9 million victims of human trafficking, globally,
- 68% are forced labor,
- 22% are sexually exploited,
- 10% re state imposed forced labor
Myth: human trafficking victims will self-identify
Truth: 50% of human trafficking victims have had contact with a health professional. NONE of them were identified as a victim.
Myth: Human trafficking is not in my community.
Truth: Over 30,000 of human trafficking are reported in all 50 states, DC, and U.S. territories.
Myth: Human trafficking only affects the victim.
Truth: The crime of human trafficking is a symptom of a societal problem. Three major behaviors everyone can participate in that will significantly diminish society’s demand for trafficking as well as limit the opportunities to enslave people:
- Know where your goods and services come from
- Offer opportunities for at-risk individuals
- Report it. Even if you only suspect trafficking and can’t prove it: Call 1-888-373-7888, text HELP to BEFREE (233733), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Myth: Human trafficking only happens to children.
Truth: Since 2012, the numbers have consistently indicated that 62% of trafficking cases are adults.
Myth: Trafficking only happens to women.
Truth: Since 2012, the numbers have indicated that 18% of trafficked people are men.
Actions You Can Take!
Everyone is empowered and has a responsibility to take part in the movement to end human trafficking, slavery, forced labor, and child labor. Here are some ways you can make a difference and act right now.
- Refer to the red flags above. Talk and post about them with friends and your community to help raise awareness.
- Whether online, in conversations, or just taking a moment to post on social, share the myths listed above to help build educated global citizens.
- Know where your goods and services come from. By choosing fair trade, you are voting for the kind of world you want to create and live in. Know the source before you buy. For more about fashion and trafficking, check out Fashion Revolution.
- Get the story behind your food and other news about the connection between human trafficking and the sources of our food. We can eat responsibility simply by learning more and adjusting a few of our everyday decisions about brands and farming practices. For more on this, check out the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
- Learn which goods may actually be produced by child or forced labor. The Bureau of International Labor Affairs maintains a public list of goods and their source countries which it has reason to believe are produced by child labor or forced labor. Simply choosing bananas, for example, that are local to the U.S., rather than from one of the countries on the list, can make the difference between continuing to create demand for child and forced labor versus turning the tables and spending your dollar on a better world.
- Did you know you can calculate your slavery footprint? It’s true. Take this educational tour of the products and services you use, and the global impact you have. By simply understanding the ways we can change purchase decisions, and taking action to make our dollars speak for the world we really want, we can end human trafficking.
- Stay informed. Read this report from the Department of State that discusses common misperceptions and missed opportunities to identify human trafficking victims and take action. Sign up for DOJ human trafficking news alertsvisit disclaimer page, follow relevant organizations on social media, read reports as they are released, or check out OTIP’s newsfeed.
- Volunteer! The National Human Trafficking Hotline has a referral directory of organizations that provide resources and opportunities for volunteers to step in and help end human trafficking.
- Offer opportunities for at-risk individuals. Can you train or hire survivors? Reach out to potential local partners. Do you work in a school? Propose anti-trafficking protocols. Are you an attorney? Offer pro-bono services. Writing a story? Use media best practices. Work in hospitals or clinics? Encourage your colleagues to SOAR (Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human Trafficking.)
- Get trained and take your awareness to an even deeper level. Office on Trafficking in Persons National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center trains public health professionals and the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center supports the criminal justice system.
- Create your own awareness campaign or event. Even if all you do is pass out a few materials and post on social, you can increase awareness and inspire others to take action. The Blue Campaign promoted by Homeland Security has materials and visuals you can use. Schools, local libraries, and community events are great places that will often provide support or help you find volunteers.
- Ask your representatives about how they are addressing human trafficking. Let them know what your community needs. Raise your voice and ask your friends and colleagues to join you.
- Remember that human trafficking doesn’t always look the way we may think it looks. And it isn’t always portrayed accurately in the movies. Watch and share this short video about how to recognize human trafficking.