An Introduction to Human Trafficking Awareness Month
While December is an important month for the Dressember organization to make a statement against human trafficking and recognizing its victims through a dress or a tie, the Dressember campaign does not start and end in December. In fact, the Dressember campaign continues until the end of January which is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, during the month of January advocates, organizations and individuals unite to help raise awareness about the significant issue of human trafficking. One of the hardest crimes to prove, human trafficking has remained hidden for too long. During Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the goal is to acknowledge its existence and express support for its victims and survivors.
Oftentimes, many people do not even understand that human trafficking is happening in their own communities, or even have an idea of what human trafficking actually is and how common it is. According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is defined as modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
With that being said, human trafficking is happening right now in our rural communities, cities, suburbs and the victim, or even the trafficker, can be our own next door neighbor. That is a scary fact, and knowing that, it is important to obtain the resources to know when our community is affected by human trafficking and what we can do to possibly stop it.
During the month of January, there are many events, resources and ways to get involved to help spread the needed information regarding human trafficking; such as, a Facebook Live Streams on the release of the 2017 Report of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, Human Trafficking Awareness and Capacity Building Training, Wear Blue Day, etc.
The Wear Blue Day campaign is one of the easier ways for individuals to get involved. On January 11, organizers and advocates ask for people to simply wear blue in acknowledgment of human trafficking victims and survivors. During the campaign, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center asks you to post yourself, friends, and family wearing blue on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat with #WearBlueDay, and express what the campaign means to you. Also, make sure to include information about the National Human Trafficking Hotline so that people know that help is available for anyone who might need it.
Human trafficking happens everywhere no matter how big or small the town is. It is not something that only happens in foreign countries, but also here in the United States in ways that we are not aware of. Because of this, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, it is important to offer people information regarding some of the signs that someone might be trafficked: living conditions, poor mental health, odd behavior, poor physical health, lack of control, etc. Knowing these signs and how to provide/seek help are imperative in working towards putting an end to the evil cycle of human trafficking.
The work of ending human trafficking does not end once January is over. The work continues all year round, and the more people that can become aware of the overlooked epidemic that is affecting our family and friends, the easier it will be to fight, and end, this issue once and for all.
Since Human Trafficking Awareness Month is such an important month used to help raise awareness to this issue, Dressember also accepts donations throughout the month of January, as well.
For more information on how to get involved in Human Trafficking Awareness Month, visit the United States Department of Defense for help.
About the Author
Kendra Martin is currently a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, studying mass communications with a minor in applied communications. She is excited to be a part of the Dressember family, learn from everyone involved and to be a part of the fight against human trafficking. She loves listening to music, writing in her journal, reading multiple books at a time, sunflowers, corny puns and sleeping in.