When I first learned about human trafficking a decade ago, it stirred my world completely. I got sucked into learning all that I could all at once. I spent hours and eventually years pouring over books on the subject, checking out dozens of organizations, reading as much news as possible on the subject, and doing whatever I could to inform everyone about the problem while giving optional solutions to help end slavery around the world.
What I didn’t realize is how it would affect my emotions There are times when I cry and cry over the information I learn. Other days I feel cold as if I am so used to knowing what is happening, that it doesn’t really make me mad, just tired from knowing too much and feeling as if nothing will change.
When the latest TIP report came out, I felt useless. I realized that nothing has truly improved, but only become worse. When you have read the report every year, you know which countries are the worst in fighting human trafficking and which ones are the best. To see many of these countries get worse and only one that seemed to truly improve dramatically, it made me feel such a heaviness that I almost wish I didn’t know anything about human trafficking.
There are so many people suffering out there in bondage. There are children who are missing their families and parents who wonder if their children are even alive. There are people dying because of the traumatic abuse put upon them. It begins to overwhelm one who simply researches the subject when you empathize with situations or wrap your mind around statistics that are updated and just show a lack of improvement.
What does one do when this happens?
How does a person overcome the hardships of feeling so much for others?
You keep fighting.
You keep seeking justice for the oppressed.
You keep informing others of what is going on.
There has been change.
There have been many rescued.
There have been traffickers put behind bars.
There has been a great increase of awareness.
There will be a great change one day.
We will see an end to slavery.
Don’t give up.
Keep your head up and know that you are not the only one going through this heartbreak for others.
You can make a difference.
-Victoria Tiedemann; Justice Network’s Resources Adviser