You’ll Lose Sleep Over This

Human trafficking is one of those things. You don’t want to talk about it, you don’t want to think about it, you certainly don’t want to get involved in it. I suspect that the 27 million people living as slaves right now would rather not have to know about it either. Problem is, it’s their reality. Every moment of every day for the rest of their lives because 99% of human slaves are NEVER rescued.

Please read right to the end. You won’t regret it.

This is their reality:

After a trafficking journey that typically involves deception, rape, beatings and constant threats, victims are often forced to live in confining and unsanitary conditions. Once formally put to work, human trafficking victims can be forced to service between 40 and 110 customers in one day. Malnutrition, sleep deprivation and emotional and physical abuse become day-to-day normalities, with forced abortions and the contraction of STD’s, Hepatitis A & B and AIDS as ever looming probabilities. Life for a victim of sex trafficking is hell on earth. –  A21

This is an abomination but it’s easy for us to overlook it… pretend we never heard the statistics… turn away and get on with our day… let fear chase us away.

We mustn’t though. We must choose to take the more difficult road and talk about it. We must think about it, read about it, learn about it. Yes, it’ll traumatise and shock us. We might have nightmares and possibly lose sleep. It’s a price we MUST pay for those who can’t do it for themselves.

A21 and Stop The Traffik are getting right down to business with the multi-billion dollar slave industry (Trafficking in women is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately US$12 billion a year – A21). Their websites are full of suggestions on what we can do: (courtesy of http://www.thea21campaign.org)

  1. SPREAD THE WORD
    Memorize some of the statistics about human trafficking and tell your friends. You can also download posters from www.callandresponse.com or ask us for brochures you can pass out to people at your work, school or church.
  2. USE YOUR TALENT
    Write a blog about why we should fight human trafficking; paint a picture and display it publicly; use a sports event to raise awareness and funds; write a song or talk about human trafficking at a concert; create a short film and post it on www.youtube.com. Use what you do best to make a difference!
  3. INVEST IN FREEDOM
    One way you can join The A21 Campaign is by financial support. Your donation will be used to fight human trafficking through legal fees, as well as costs related to healthcare and housing for rescued victims. If you would like to join The A21 Campaign by making a financial contribution or becoming a regular monthly partner, please click here.
  4. LOBBY POLITICIANS
    For more information on how to inform your elected officials, check out www.polarisproject.org.
  5. ORGANIZE A FUNDRAISER
    Check out what these college students are doing: http://www.tigersagainsttrafficking.com/ or contact the A21 office for more ideas.
  6. SUPPORT SURVIVORS
    Buy products made by survivors of human trafficking. Here is one place you can find jewellery that is hand-made by survivors: www.nightlightbangkok.com.  You can also support survivors by donating items for newly rescued victims at our shelter in Greece.  One suggestion is new clothes such as pajamas, socks and other essentials as survivors often come to us with only the clothes on their back.  A current need in our shelter is for bags to give the girls when they leave the shelter so that they have a beautiful bag to carry their belongings in.  If you would like to make a donation directly to the survivors in Greece, please contact us.
  7. VOLUNTEER
    You can also join The A21 Campaign by becoming a volunteer. Some of the areas that you can get involved are: Research, Legal Advice in Greece, Counseling, Medical Advisor/Doctor, Vocational Training or Graphic Design. If you would like to volunteer with The A21 Campaign at some capacity, please contact us.
  8. FAST ON THE 21ST
    On the 21st day of every month, fast for the work The A21 Campaign is doing in Greece and around the world as together we stand in agreement to see the injustice of human trafficking abolished.
  9. START AN AWARENESS GROUP
    Start an awareness group at your local high school or university. Get your campuses involved in spreading the truth about human trafficking to your community. Check out free handbooks you can use at www.notforsalecampaign.org.
  10. BUY FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS
    Find out how you or your company can support fair trade and help reduce the demand for products made by slaves. Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk for more details.
  11. SPONSOR THOSE AT RISK
    Because poverty is a major contributor that can lead to human trafficking, sponsoring a child or woman in poverty-stricken areas that are also ranked as high origin countries for trafficking, can help make a difference. Check out this organization, www.compassion.com, to see how you can start sponsoring someone in need today!
  12. INTERN FOR A SUMMER
    The Home Foundation has a summer internship program for college students. For more information on how you can serve next summer, visit http://www.thehomefoundation.net/internship.html.  Another great organization offering internship programs to fight human trafficking is Transitions Global.  To check out their program, visit http://transitionsglobal.org/internships.php.
  13. EDUCATE YOURSELF
    Download the United Nations toolkit to combat trafficking: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/publications.html. You can also watch a movie or read a book to learn about real stories of human trafficking.
    Recommended reading material:

    1. Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It – by David Bratstone.
    2. The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade – by Victor Malare
    3. Terrify No More: Young Girls Held Captive and the Daring Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom – by Gary A. Haugen and Gregg Hunter
    4. The Road of Lost Innocence – by Somaly Mam
    5. Ending Slavery – by Kevin Bales

    Recommended movies (for mature audiences only):

    1. Human Trafficking (2005)
    2. The Jammed (2007)
    3. Trade (2007)
    4. Taken (2008)
    5. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)
  14. STAY CURRENT
    Visit the newsroom at www.thea21campaign.org regularly to stay up to date with the latest news articles about human trafficking. Let us know if you find any new articles to add to the newsroom!
  15. PRAY
    If you would like to request a free bookmark to keep in your Bible with specific scriptures you can pray, please click here to contact us. Alternatively, you may download the A21 prayer guide by clicking here.
  16. WORK THE WEB
    Get the word out by posting the A21 awareness video on your website, MySpace, Facebook or personal blog page. You can also join The A21 Campaign’s Facebook cause and invite your friends to help spread awareness. Click here to join right now.
  17. MOTIVATE THE MEDIA
    Encourage your local newspaper or television station to cover stories about human trafficking, and what your community can do to help stop it.
  18. STAY ALERT
    If you see something suspicious in your area, make sure you speak up by informing your local law enforcement. To find out what to look for, visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking.
  19. WORK FOR FREEDOM
    Consider a career as an abolitionist. There are many great organizations that are in need of skilled and trained professionals to help advance the cause of justice. Here is just one of many to consider: http://www.ijm.org/careers.
  20. MAKE CONNECTIONS
    Please contact us with your feedback, ideas, possible contacts, and important information.
  21. HELP VICTIMS ESCAPE
    Leave local rescue hotline numbers in public places around your city. For ideas and free downloads, visit http://www.hhs.gov/.

Even the Olympics aren’t safe. Brad Ruggles wrote an alarming post about slaves being ‘recruited’ to serve tourists at the time of the Olympics in 2012. Stop The Traffik is holding a Global Summit next year to work against human trafficking before, during and after the 2012 London Olympics.

NOTE: I know this is upsetting and it can be overwhelming but can I challenge you to not leave it at this. Perhaps you can’t do anything about it today but please mull it over, pray about it, decide to find something that you can do to help and make a start. We need to wake up and stop what’s happening and for that to happen, everyone needs to help out. Don’t be discouraged, be empowered and above all, rely on God – He is their hope and their rescue. He WILL come through for them.

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