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!
How to join the fight against slavery if you’re….
If you have an eye for design and craft, you can volunteer for organizations that teach survivors how to make jewelry and other purchasable commodities. International Sanctuary is a company based in Orange County, California that teaches survivors how to achieve economic prosperity through artistic creation. Not only do volunteers provide survivors with educational and medical support, but they also teach them how to craft specialty jewelry for sale. You can purchase these survivor-made pieces at PURPOSE Jewelry.
If you have a poetic side and would like an outlet to express this, I recommend using your talent to be an advocate for survivors. Poetry is a powerful source of storytelling, and you can use your knack for it to provide a powerful reiteration of survivor’s hardships and experiences. Follow in the footsteps of Alicia Keys, P!nk, and Jada Smith, who all teamed up to be a collective voice for survivors of sex trafficking. They worked with young women from the Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), and read their poems aloud to shed light on their experiences to the public. You can participate in this effort by devoting school assignments, art projects, and your free time to raising awareness in your community.
Whether you’re an avid runner or a novice cyclist, there are numerous opportunities for you to use your physical prowess to promote human dignity. Athleticism can play a big role in raising awareness for human trafficking. Pedal the Pacific is a great way to raise money and awareness for the cause by participating in a rigorous yet exhilarating cycling challenge. Challengers fundraise and participate in a 1700 mile bike ride across the Pacific Coast to raise money for The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Kelly Coles, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, says she rides “to help Pedal the Pacific create a meaningful conversation about trafficking and support the long-term mission of The Refuge.”
An aspiring Entrepreneur:
If you’re interested in starting your own business, you could join the fight by selling a product whose proceeds benefit anti-human trafficking organizations. Take Dan Mackett’s example. Mackett, current College Student Mobilization Program Manager for IJM, started his own volunteer-run coffee shop named A Just Brew at his college campus. This donation-based coffee lounge became widely popular with his peers and not only increased awareness for human trafficking but raised roughly $18,000 dollars for IJM since its establishment in 2014. Mackett reveals, “we had a vision of combining what we love doing with what we love supporting” and now “people [can] learn and respond to the problem of slavery by drinking ethically sourced craft coffee.”
A great communicator:
If communication is one of your key skills, there are many ways for you to become involved in the fight against modern-day slavery. Awareness remains one of the largest obstacles in the fight to ending modern slavery; so engaging in campaigns that draw public attention and support to this issue are important for you to consider. With that being said, you could currently join the campaign to get your legislators on board with the End Modern Slavery Initiative. This initiative, proposed by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker back in 2015, will help reduce slavery by providing resources to anti-human trafficking efforts around the world only if it is funded. This bill, which was signed into law in 2016, needs to be refunded every two years--so it is up to us to encourage that its effectual presence be seen in our world. If you live outside of the U.S., I would encourage you to actively protest for anti-human trafficking efforts by participating in global awareness initiatives such as the End It movement.
A lover of fashion:
If you’re an aspiring fashionista and love shopping, I encourage you to be an ethically conscious consumer of clothing. Many clothes are produced by slave labor and buying from popular companies such as H&M, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters will only contribute to the problem. I encourage you to channel your love for fashion into a love for being an ethically conscious consumer who learns how to prioritize human dignity without sacrificing style. When you make a purchase that you’re proud of, share it with your community! And lastly, if you love dresses and can commit to wearing one for a month, I encourage you to participate in next year’s Dressember challenge! Doing so will help you encourage other women that femininity should be celebrated, not exploited. Registration for Dressember 2018 launches on October 1st!
You don't have to wait until December to be a part of the impact. Join the Dressember Collective and become part of a powerful community of advocates and donors furthering the work and impact of the Dressember Foundation through monthly giving.
About the Author
Sarah Beech is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin who is studying psychology and government. She is most passionate about fighting against the various human rights abuses that occur around us. In her free time she likes to watch Netflix, hang out with her friends, and try new restaurants. Her favorite quote is, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" (from A Cinderella Story).