Posts in Let's Talk
Fighting When You Feel Small

The truth is that advocating for the freedom and dignity of all can be so overwhelming at times that we feel extremely small under the weight of it. It can feel like we’re trying to stop the ocean by building a barrier out of the sand, and it’s easy to get discouraged when we can’t see the effects of our words and actions. There were countless times during the recent Dressember campaign that I felt like my voice didn’t really matter.

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A Word from Blythe Hill on National Foster Care Day

In the five years since Dressember became a campaign aimed at dismantling modern-day slavery, I’ve learned so much—we’ve learned so much as a society.  Human trafficking impacts every corner of the globe. It happens in every city, around major sporting events, at truck stops, massage parlors, on busy streets and busy websites. In spite of what the 'Taken' franchise would have us believe, we know now that a very small percentage of trafficking recruitment happens through kidnapping. Here in the US, there is one startling recruitment method that has taken us far too long to realize: foster care.

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An Advocate's Guide to Books

Participating in Dressember has opened my eyes to the reality of a type of abuse that makes my heart feel all the feels. Each survivor story I read offers the hope of rescue and healing but inevitably evokes anger towards the injustice of modern-day slavery. As I have begun to follow anti-trafficking initiatives on my social media accounts and have kept up with news stories highlighting human trafficking, I can easily feel overcome with sadness at the brutal violence and exploitation faced by so many vulnerable groups. With all of these emotions swirling around inside of me, it has been impossible to return to "normal, everyday life" now that Dressember is over. I've decided to cope with my feelings by becoming a source of reliable information about human trafficking to my community. I will be the human-rights advocate in my circles, finding and announcing year-round opportunities for everyone to get involved in combating exploitation. 

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Time's Up: Hope in the Wake of #MeToo

If you’ve been paying attention to pop culture lately, you’ve probably heard something about women wearing black to the Golden Globe Awards or caught Natalie Portman’s comment about the all-male nominees for Best Director. And if you didn’t see Oprah Winfrey’s speech live, chances are you heard about it from friends, but what exactly is the TIME’S UP movement is and what changes they are trying to make?

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Finding Your Tribe

There is so much talk these days about finding our tribe, about creating that core group of people around us who always have our backs. All over Instagram, we can see posts about creating our “ride or die” group of friends, the ones who will have our backs no matter what and who are fighting for the same things as us. That couldn’t be truer than when it comes to our advocacy. We don’t have to fight for justice alone--in fact, we can’t fight for it alone. We need people around us to cheer us on, to pick us up and dust us off when we fall down, and to encourage us to keep fighting when we want to give up. It’s a long road that we’ve chosen to walk in our fight for the freedom of all, but it can be made less lonely when we bring people into our lives who will walk alongside us.

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What is Dressember's Place?

I used to feel like what I was doing to end human trafficking just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t on the front lines performing rescue operations or helping women who had been victims regain their dignity. No, I was just a measly freshman in college. Then I heard about Dressember, a movement that asks you to wear a dress every day to raise awareness and funds. This was the opportunity to empower victims of human trafficking that I had been looking for. With only a few weeks before December 1st, and a less than stellar array of dresses I joined a movement that has now raised millions of dollars.

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Overcoming Porn Addiction

In the past few years, studies have proven the inseparable link between porn and sex trafficking. The exponential increase of trafficking cases in recent decades is in fact tightly correlated to the heightened demand for porn, and the incredibly easy access to it in our era. The porn industry is a medium through which human traffickers work; coercing and exploiting human beings for the pleasure of others. In our hypersexualized media culture, cybersex has become a profitable enterprise. Pimps, who control and arrange clients for sex workers, benefit from the global rise of internet access to orchestrate cybersex trafficking. Cybersex trafficking is defined by IJM as the live-streaming sexual exploitation of victims over the internet.

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Men are More Than Consumers

Alright, men, this one’s for you. We spend a lot of time here at Dressember highlighting the work that women are doing to take a stand against human trafficking, but today we are talking to the guys! We are here to acknowledge the special role that you play in taking a stand against abuse and how you can help get more involved in ending sex trafficking.

Today we’re covering what three different guys think is the role of men in ending sex trafficking, what they are doing about it, and why they believe #RealMenDontBuyGirls. 

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Seek Justice: Live Simply

How many different uses for bamboo can you come up with? Go ahead! I’m being completely serious. My list is currently upwards of twenty and still rising. You may be wondering what the resourcefulness of bamboo has to do with Dressember, but spending the weekend before Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, in a rural Lahu village in Thailand made the relationship strikingly clear to me. 

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Awareness as the First Step

Through Dressember 2017 and Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January 2018,  Dressember Foundation generated over 2 million dollars with generous contributions from over 31,000 donors! Additionally, now there are communities worldwide who are more educated, informed, and equipped to speak on the topic of human trafficking. Maybe you made your own contribution by holding up a sign, setting up a booth, wearing a dress, calling your representatives, or holding an event. But how do these awareness efforts lead to the end of human trafficking?

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How to Talk to Your Kids about Trafficking

My daughter is 2 years old. She currently loves all things Minnie Mouse. Her favorite outfit is a pretty dress a striped sweater over it. It doesn’t match - at all - but she loves it so much. She is so full of joy - you can see it when she twirls around and sings and dances without a care in the world. 

I can’t imagine the day when she is not so innocent. 

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Checking For Blind Spots

I almost hit someone the other day.

A motorcyclist.

It was on a busy highway in Los Angeles. The radio was playing and my mind was on autopilot. Laziness set in and I failed to check my blind spot as I merged into the left-hand lane, nearly taking out the motorcyclist next to me. Aggressive words were exchanged on his end, as I offered him apologetic eyes and mouthed “I’m sorry.” As I worked to slow my heart rate down, I heard the words of my driving instructor in my head,

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Is Your Sweet Tooth Contributing to Modern Day Slavery?

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, many of you will be quick to indulge in your sweet tooth. It will become difficult to resist the tantalizing candy bags that fill the shelves of just about every convenience store; especially when that bouquet of chocolate flowers is priced at less than $5 and within your reach. However, what most people do not realize is that the indulgence of such a sweet tooth may be contributing to the enslavement of children.

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Dust off your pants, it's 2018!

New Year's resolutions are a highly debated topic this time of year. Some love them while some hate them. Companies make millions off of our confident yearly ambitions, and some have transformed their lives from a commitment they've made in the new year. Personally, I always wanted to be the person with a story of great reformation at the end of the year.  But admittedly, I've also been that person who signed her life away for a gym membership only to beg said gym to release her from that contract one month later. The only revelation I would ever come to at the end of the year was that I was a really great quitter.

Until three years ago.

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Grab and Go: Podcasts about Human Trafficking

Podcasts seem to be having what some might call "a moment." From home repair to cooking tips to social justice issues, there seems to be a podcast for anything and everything.

Surprisingly, I do not have a lot of free time in my day. However, when I do, I listen to podcasts! Living with a demanding schedule every day can sometimes rob me of the opportunity to enjoy reading and learning about different topics. Therefore, I turn to podcasts!

I have compiled podcast recommendations about human trafficking that will allow you to become educated, inspired, and equipped to continue this journey of advocating for the inherent dignity of all people.

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Ten Thoughts of a Dressember Advocate

Whether this is your first year advocating with us or you are a seasoned professional, there are some moments that come with Dressember that are uniquely Dressember. In what other situation are you able to join thousands across the globe in an advocacy movement through fashion? From the awkward to the amazing, you’re not alone in this journey. Here are the ten thoughts common in the Dressember advocate experience.

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Let Thankfulness Heal You

Years ago, I heard the author Anne Lamott speak at an event, and at one point she said, “If you’re a girl over 12 years old in this country and not really mad, I think you’ve missed the boat.” From the #metoo movement to the worldwide sex trafficking trade, how can we not be angry about the age-old exploitation of women—of our sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, selves? And then there’s everything else we might be feeling angry or sad or fearful about in our world today: global warming and natural disasters, mass shootings and homelessness, systemic racism and corporate greed and abused animals and drunk driving.

How do we not let our outrage and fear get the best of us, as we limp toward Thanksgiving, toward the end of 2017? Sometimes the very last thing we want to do is what we most need for our healing. When we’re stuck in the dark place, shaking with fear or anger, disappointed in how our own lives are turning out, the way to turn on the lights is thankfulness.

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Where My Voice Belongs

As I write this, I’ve been back only two days from a weekend-long empowerment conference for young girls in Los Angeles who are part of the CSEC community, (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.) I say “young girls,” because they are children: 13 – 18. And they are trying to leave what they call “the life” - the life of selling their bodies. This means that some of them began when they were only 10 years old, by force or coercion.   We, adults, are there at this conference to help them connect with the emotions they’ve held in for so long for their own survival. We are also there to give them examples of another way – to empower them to leave the life and get on another path.

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