Engaging Companies in the Fight to End Human Trafficking
In February 2018, Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosted one of the nation’s largest events - the Super Bowl. It took place in Downtown Minneapolis at the U.S. Bank Stadium, right next to the public hospital where I work. Every day, during my commute to and from work, I witnessed the construction, outdoor preparations, and festivities. But alongside the strategic planning and whirlwind of people and visitors was the constant need to be aware of my surroundings.
As some of you may be aware, large gatherings like the Super Bowl may temporarily increase the likelihood for human trafficking in the hosted location. Thankfully, my hospital’s Sexual Assault Resource Team provided helpful resources and materials to raise awareness about human trafficking. Weekly and daily communication was shared via e-mail or through direct management leadership, engaging employees to be aware of the implications of human trafficking, how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, and what to do if you suspect human trafficking. The mission to end human trafficking involves advocates in a long-standing battle, and it touches so many aspects of the community and economy that efforts to recognize the issue and raise awareness should not be limited to large national events, like the Super Bowl or one-time initiatives. Organizations like hospitals, schools, and corporate businesses can all take part in the fight against human trafficking.
Organizations like hospitals, schools, and corporate businesses can all take part in the fight against human trafficking.
The corporate world can play a critical role in anti-human trafficking. With its vast relationships in a variety of sectors -- such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, construction, retail, and travel -- it has the capabilities to raise human trafficking awareness globally. Any corporation can adopt strategies to help end human trafficking, and if you’re looking for some suggestions, The World Economic Forum shared eight helpful and inspiring ways companies can get involved to help end human trafficking. Here’s a short summary of what they are:
1.) Inspire leadership to set the stage for anti-human trafficking strategies and initiatives.
2.) Encourage responsible sourcing and supply chain sustainability.
3.) Implement employee training programs highlighting the issues of human trafficking and best practices on reporting suspicious activities.
4.) Engage in philanthropic efforts through campaign funds and foundations.
5.) Host corporate volunteer events with local anti-human trafficking organizations.
6.) Educate customers and clients through social media outlets and marketing communications.
7.) Be a part of public policy outreach initiatives and work with the government and other public sectors on anti-human trafficking laws.
8.) Build strong partnerships with the public community.
If you’re an individual trying to encourage the above changes within your organization, I would highly recommend exploring the Don’t Buy It Project, a public awareness campaign that includes a resource toolkit to help individuals, groups, and communities. Sometimes your profession can also alter the way you align your organization’s mission with justice and anti-human trafficking efforts. For example, if you’re a teacher, you can integrate human trafficking education into the curriculum while being mindful of culture and community. For best practice, invite an outside organization or experts to discuss this issue with school officials and parents. Health care providers also have unique roles when it comes to detecting human trafficking. Hospitals and clinics should highly encourage their providers to take additional training on evaluating patients for abuse and trauma, documenting injuries and collecting evidence, providing treatment, and understanding the protocols on reporting human trafficking to law enforcement. The travel and tourism industry is also another major area where human trafficking is often seen. Airline workers, such as flight attendants, and airport employees should be provided with education and training on how to spot and report human trafficking. Resources could also be provided to customers through travel itineraries with different common languages.
Sometimes your profession can also alter the way you align your organization’s mission with justice and anti-human trafficking efforts.
As you can see, there are many ways to join the fight against human trafficking. There are various educational resources and awareness tools to help you or your organization get involved. It doesn’t have to involve elaborate training. It can be as simple as sharing a phone number, such as the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888), a confidential, toll-free 24/7 hotline and resource center serving victims and survivors of human trafficking nationally. This small action can create a ripple effect by initiating awareness through small steps and eventually leading to thousands of victims being saved. Let’s stay proactive together through partnership, outreach and community involvement. Whatever our profession, let’s work together to create a bigger change and a stronger fight against human trafficking.
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About the Author
Gaochen Xiong recently graduated with her Master’s in Public and Nonprofit Administration. As a first generation born Hmong American, who is dedicated to paving the way for her children and future generations, she is excited to expand her knowledge and fight for justice through Dressember. She’s an avid reader, lover of all things arts and crafts, and enjoys experiencing new adventures and traveling with her family.