Posts in Let's Talk
A New Meaning To Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” - United States Declaration of Independence

On this Independence Day, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the meaning of independence and why the fight for freedom didn’t quite stop in 1776.

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Let's Talk: Legislation

When we think about human trafficking, we often think about rescue aid and prosecution. The media emphasizes raising awareness, recognizing the indicators of trafficking, rescuing victims from slavery and ongoing violence, and locking up criminals. Though talking about legislation does not always seem very appealing, it is a crucial part of advocacy. The truth is, anti-trafficking legislation is a powerful channel for prevention and intervention. Local, national, and global legal instruments are used to address and ultimately combat human trafficking. If effective legislation pertaining to human trafficking is not put in place, public prosecutors have no basis to ensure that local police restrain trafficking criminals or that survivors are represented in court. Today we will be delving into legislation concerning human trafficking that is most pressing today.


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A Fight For Everyone

The right to human dignity is craved by every human being. It is a right, however, that is often mistakenly believed to be fought for by specific communities. Taking a quick look at some of the world’s leading anti-trafficking organizations, it can appear that the people on the front lines of fighting modern slavery are religious. In fact, a principal driver behind the civil rights movement in the U.S. has been deeply rooted in and supported by religious fervor, which champions the idea that we are all free and equal in God’s eye. The recognition of the church’s role in such movements can be daunting for someone who is not religious. In spite of this, it is important for us to recognize that the fight to end modern day slavery is a universal human issue; the fight for human rights is a matter that implicates everyone, not just those belonging to a particular demographic.


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Join the Dres"summer" Book Club!

I’m RuthAnn, Dressember advocate since 2014 and enthusiastic bookworm! This summer, I’m excited to invite you to join me in reading about human trafficking and discussing together. Over the next couple of months, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss over social media and chat about the book in real time with Dressember founder, Blythe Hill and me!


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Can Victims Become Traffickers?: The Story of Allison Mack

Allison Mack is a charismatic, green-eyed Hollywood actress whose life appears to be glamorous both on and off the television screen. Her stunning physique and renowned fame have allowed her to hide behind a facade that has masked the true nature of her work: recruiting women into the human trafficking industry. As of April 2018, Allison faces a number of sex trafficking charges for her involvement in the organization NXIVM. How could a successful, beloved actress become entangled in an industry that exploits other women?


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Intersectional Advocacy

Amy was 12 when her father… began abusing her physically and sexually. When she was 17, Amy began staying with her friend, Lisa, to escape her father’s abuse. Lisa told Amy that she knew an agent who could help her become a model—something Amy had always dreamed of. Instead, the man forced Amy into prostitution and kept all the money she made, locking her in a hotel room for weeks, giving her very little food. He threatened to kill her if she ever left. Amy was finally able to escape and now hopes to train to become a certified nursing assistant so she can help others.”

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Drop Your Fear

Last summer, I can remember sitting in my kitchen and reviewing an application for an editorial internship with Dressember. The opportunity to put words down that could fuel change in the area of trafficking made my heart race in the best ways. Yet the more I thought about applying, the more room I made for fear to join me in the decision-making. In fear’s opinion, I was sorely under-qualified to write about such an important topic and I went to bed that night thinking, “You can’t do this internship. You aren’t an expert on human trafficking. You’re an ordinary person, with ordinary talents.


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Using Your Strengths to Fight Human Trafficking

All of us have a unique interest or skill that sets us apart. Whether this skill involves an eccentric artistic sense or a physically rigorous athletic ability, there are countless ways that we can wield our strengths in the fight against human trafficking. The fight to end modern-day slavery is a fight that demands action from everyone -- we all have a part to play in the promotion of basic human dignity. Below is a list of examples of how you can use your individual skills and interests to join the fight! Together, we can use our unique gifts and abilities to make a difference!


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A TED Talk Review of Justin Baldoni's 'Why I'm Done Trying to be Man Enough'

Boys will be boys…a common phrase used to describe toxic behavior that justifies the suppression of women, extreme self-reliance, and suppressing emotions for the sake of, “being a man.” Justin Baldoni - American actor, director, and filmmaker is challenging this idea by asking himself and other men what it means to really, “be a man.”

In a TED Talk titled, “Why I’m Done Trying to be Man Enough,” Justin bravely explores the ideas impressed upon him as a child and how those ideas have impacted his adulthood. Interestingly enough, the roles Justin was being cast as were depictions of the kind of man who perfectly captures what toxic masculinity is; tough, shirtless men with perfectly chiseled jawlines that never cry and always, always dominate in the relationship.

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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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