Image credit: hopeforjustice.org
27 MILLION. Can you even fathom what that number means? That is the approximate number of men, women and children in slavery today! 27 million individuals in bondage, treated as less than human, forced to do unspeakable acts or live in deplorable conditions, in fear for their lives and the lives of family members. In the light of that overwhelming number, it can be so easy to shut our minds, say that it is awful then continue with our lives, decide that it is other people's issue to fight. What does it have to do with me, living in Australia, going about my daily life? Everything!
It is the actions of people just like me that keep so many of that number enslaved. It is the coffee I drink, the chocolate I eat, the clothing I buy and wear, the cheap bargains I go after. How often do we stop to think whose hands have touched those items? How often do we consider the conditions that workers are forced to endure so that I can save a few dollars on items that I could generally easily live without? I have gone through seasons of putting careful consideration into my purchases and the impact it has but I will admit to growing lax in this. I have still been passionate about the issue of human trafficking but not paying as much attention to the mundane parts of my life that contribute to it.
So what can you do? How can the choices I make have an impact? There are some phenomenal organisations that are on the ground fighting. They have some awesome ideas and resources that you can access to make a difference right where you are, making simple changes in your life.
Here are a few that I found:
- Learn about which brands use ethical practices in their production of food and goods through websites such as www.ethical.org.au/ They also have a phone app that you can buy to have with you when you are out shopping. Look for something similar if you live in another country.
- Choose brands of coffee, tea and chocolate that are supplied in ethical ways e.g. fair trade certified.
- Buy second hand goods and clothing to reduce the demand for these items.
- Write to politicians about the issue to raise awareness and get change happening at governmental level.
- Donate to organisations doing the work. I'll link some of them below.
- Write letters to those who have been rescued to encourage them.
- Raise awareness through social media.
- Participate in awareness raising and fundraising events.
- Buy products through fair trade organisations such as Oxfam.
- Sponsor a child to protect them from being vulnerable to human trafficking.
- Buy a gift for a person in poverty that helps them to work or get an education to lower their risk of falling victim through Gifts of Compassion or World Vision Gifts (I include these with all my Christmas gifts and they are always well received.)
- Buy a gift for a rescued victim of sex trafficking through Making A21 Home for the Holidays
Check out these awesome organisations and find other ideas to fight this issue: