Modern-Day slavery is a real deal. While students are taught that slaves in the US were freed with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, they are often unaware that there are millions in their age bracket put into forms of slavery today known now as human trafficking.
Teenagers are able to make a huge difference in their local communities and throughout the world to bring human trafficking to a permanent end. They are never too young to stand up for what is right.
“How can I help?”
Begin to research human trafficking
Check the news for human trafficking, seek out organizations that are making differences, look at the Global Slavery Index to learn about issues of slavery in each country and what is being done about it.
Here are some recommended books for teens to read:
Learn the Signs of Human Trafficking
You may find that there are kids who attend your school who are victims. There is a hotline to call if you suspect a case of human trafficking. It is possible you could save a fellow classmate’s life.
Find Organizations to Support
Many organizations exist to spread awareness about human trafficking, train law enforcement, form rescues, make arrests of those harboring slaves, and provide shelter and restoration for survivors. Be sure to research which ones stand out the most to you.
Here are just a few we recommend: International Justice Mission, Not For Sale, Polaris Project, Love 146, Restore NYC, Walk Free, Shared Hope, Love True, A21, and The END IT Movement
Hold fundraiser events and send the money to an organization that your heart feels drawn to. Some organizations will actually have online fundraiser pages that you can set up to directly bring the money to them as well.
There are many ways to raise funds. One fun way is if you like to run, swim, or bike ride you can participate in Tread on Trafficking through Love146. Other ideas would be to have a bake sale, create a cafe, have local bands perform a show with a donation entry fee, do an art show, have a craft night, have a football tournament or sporting event to raise funds, create a talent show, have a speaker come to your school during Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January), participate in Dressember every December, ask for Fair Food, Join in the Fashion Revolution in April, start a school club, write an article for a school newspaper, or make a youtube video or movie about the problems of human trafficking. Perhaps you can come up with your own creative ways to raise money!
Be a smarter consumer
Most items owned and sold in the US involve slave labor. See your Slavery Footprint. Have your family do this together to see an estimation about how many slaves work for the items you own. We have created a large list of companies that you can trust are making a difference in the world selling slave-free and ethical products. You can ask companies to take action to find out where their items are sourced, if the workers down the line are treated fairly, and if they are paid accordingly.
Many lives are going to be changed because of you!
photo credit: Sierra O’Shea