Awareness to Action
Today is Anti-Slavery day. Many of you reading this know that there are 27 million people in our world who are enslaved. It is a huge social problem that touches every community in the world. Atlanta is frequently listed among the top ten US cities that are slavery hotbeds. It will take all of us to fight this atrocity. One day if my children ask me what I did to fight slavery, I want to say with confidence that I was on the front lines in fighting for freedom. And I want to get as many people to join me in this effort.
So, on this Anti-Slavery day, what can you do? How can you make a difference? It’s much easier than you may think. I’ve listed out a few simple ways below:
1. Increase your awareness – This step is pretty important as you start this journey. Check out the movies, books, and websites that provide information about Human Trafficking. I’ve posted about different websites and resources on my blog, check out posts here, here, and here. Or go to Polaris Project, Slavery Footprint, 3n1 men or Not for Sale to get more information about human trafficking in our country and around the world.
2. Become an Advocate – Many victims in our city don’t feel like they have a voice. They are in the shadows, in bondage. But you and I can be their voice. Sign up for the policy updates from StreetGrace or Georgia Women for a Change. Go to the capitol for CSEC Lobby Day in February, or just reach out to your elected officials. Guess what? They want your vote, so they’ll happily meet with you to hear about your heart for human trafficking. If you are interested in doing this but don’t know where to start, let me know! I’d be happy to chat with you to give you tips on getting started in lobbying and advocacy. Time spent: emailing= 30 minutes. Lobby Day= 2 hours. Individual Meeting(s)= 1- 2 hours.
3. Be a friend – There are several organizations in Atlanta that will connect you with opportunities to mentor and befriend a girl or woman who has been a victim of human trafficking. Look up Out of Darkness, Wellspring Living or Tapestri for opportunities. You can teach a class, mentor a young girl, or help a survivor practice her English. These opportunities are usually for women only and almost always require a background check and references. Time spent- several hours per month
4. Rescue her from bondage– It is actually possible to participate in rescuing and assisting victims in our city. Princess night is a weekly event with the Atlanta Dream Center. They go to areas in Atlanta that are reported hotbeds for trafficking. They take roses to women in those areas and pray with them. They’ve had several rescues as a result of this outreach. Out of Darkness operates a hotline for women to call in for rescue. Female volunteers can join the hotline team to assist women who want out of prostitution and sex trafficking. Men and Women can participate in rescues with Out of Darkness. This opportunity requires Out of Darkness Training, background checks, and is a pretty serious commitment. Time spent- Varies
5. Change the way you shop– Labor Trafficking is a huge problem around the world. In fact, many of the items we use everyday are manufactured or harvested by children and slaves. We can all make small changes to ensure that we are not using slave produced goods. Check out the Better World Shopper and Free2Work for resources. Our team at Not for Sale Georgia will be releasing a holiday shopping guide for Atlanta soon, let me know if you would like a copy and I’ll send it your way. Simply changing the coffee and sugar you consume and purchasing products at ethical stores can make a huge difference. Time spent – 1 hour for research
6. Spread the word – Even after all the press, organizations and advocacy campaigns, there are still people in our city and country who are not aware that modern day slavery exists. You can change that. We frequently host awareness events with Not for Sale Georgia. I can get you set up to have friends over for brunch or dessert with the purpose to talk about human trafficking. We can connect you and your friends with opportunities to serve. Many organizations in the area also have Speaker’s Bureaus (I’m on the Wellspring Living Bureau). They can provide a person to come and share about human trafficking. You can also make your awareness event fun by hosting a Swap Party. Time Spent- 3-4 hours.
7. Cheerfully give – This is a pretty simple, self explanatory way to make an impact. Research the organizations I listed above and consider donating. Any amount is appreciated, and can make a huge impact. You can also donate items to your local Wellspring Treasures Store, or organizations that provide housing and assistance to survivors. Time spent – minutes
8. Canvas for change– I have blogged before about the Not for Sale Georgia Poster Campaign before. I’m coordinating an effort to get a poster out with the National Slavery Hotline in 7 languages. We are hoping to spread the word around Atlanta and the entire state. It’s been an incredible experience for participants and there are already hundreds posted. If you would like to help, let me know! Time spent- one- three hours.
Remember, every small action can add up to make a huge difference. We can all play a part. I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you would like more information about any of these organizations or if you would like to get together to talk more about how you can serve. I’m always excited to talk about ways we can change the world.