Human Trafficking Awareness Month Blog:
What You Can Do To Combat Trafficking
Read the blog directly on the Covenant House New Orleans website at https://www.covenanthousenola.org/843-2/
By: Leanne McCallum, Task Force Coordinator, Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force
At the end of nearly every training event, an audience member will ask me, “So what can I do to combat human trafficking?” Though this global crime can seem daunting to address, everyone has a role to play. No matter who you are, how old you are, where you work, or where you live: anyone can ‘EASE’ into supporting this movement.
Here are examples of what you can do today to combat human trafficking.
The first step to addressing the human trafficking epidemic is to understand what human trafficking is, and what it looks like in your community.
Learn what human trafficking is (and isn’t). Human trafficking is when a person is compelled by a trafficker through force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of commercial sexual activities or labor. Human trafficking is an international crime, but it’s also happening right here in the Greater New Orleans region. Once you know the signs, share the information with your friends, family, and children so they’re aware too!
Seek out information to identify the signs of trafficking, and get informed about how the crime may be occurring in your community. Polaris, DHS Blue Campaign, and the Task Force website have resources that explain the who, what, and why about human trafficking in the United States.
Attend or request a training for your business, community organization, or other associations to learn more about human trafficking risks, indicators, and resources in your local community. Get notifications and updates from news sources such as the CNN Freedom Project.
Every citizen has the power to advocate for change- whether its in your workplace, community, or country.
Call your state senator or representatives about legislation that supports trafficking victims and survivors. There is national legislation such as the TVPA Reauthorization, along with a long list of other proposed bills that address human trafficking.
See how the places that you work, worship, and/or volunteer address human trafficking internally. Advocate for your organization to create a human trafficking response protocol. Inquire whether work practices ensure that people are fairly, safely, and legally employed. Check into your company’s employee volunteer program, and see how your business can engage with local organizations who serve trafficking victims and survivors.
Request information about the supply chain of products that your organization uses to ensure it employs responsible sourcing, and advocate for your company to use a slavery-free products and suppliers. Encourage the organization to provide employment opportunities to survivors of trafficking.
Be a conscious community member who scrutinizes where you live, the places you patronize, and the items that you purchase.
There are many smartphone applications such as Slavery footprint, Free2Work, and the Slave-Free Shopping Guide that can help you check the trafficking impact of products you buy. This can help you be a conscious consumer to avoid purchasing products made using slave labor. In addition, you can purchase products that have verified ethical labor certifications such as ‘fair trade’.
As a consumer you are able to control where you go for food, drinks, and entertainment. Human trafficking happens within the hospitality industry, especially in cities like New Orleans where tourism is an integral part of the economy. Check into whether your favorite establishments have fair wages and ethical employment standards, or whether the establishment has a history of criminal activity.
Finally, be aware of your neighborhood and surroundings. If you see something that looks suspicious, say something. Contact the Polaris Hotline or the national law enforcement tip line if you see something that may be trafficking. You can also connect to local resources through the Task Force to notify local agencies about a potential trafficking situation.
Engage in the Greater New Orleans community’s anti-trafficking efforts.
Become a task force member and engage in task force activities. Take part in the community’s response to trafficking by participating on a task force committee, or attending a task force sponsored events.
Host awareness-raising events or fundraisers in your community to help others ‘ease’ into the fight to combat human trafficking. For example, you can show a human trafficking documentary or film and host a discussion. Or you can host a fundraising event and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
Subscribe to the Task Force newsletter to get monthly updates on events, training opportunities, and human trafficking news. Follow anti-trafficking organizations like the Task Force on social mediaplatforms like Twitter and Facebook.
And of course, you can always Donate.
Contributing in-kind goods to organizations fighting trafficking is critical to serve victims and survivors of trafficking. Clothing, baby supplies, and gift cards are examples of items that can assist survivors as they rebuild their lives.
You can donate your time and expertise by volunteering for local organizations who do anti-trafficking work.
And of course, you can donate money to organizations who are the boots on the ground serving trafficking victims and survivors.
These are just a few ways that you can take steps to contribute to the fight against human trafficking. Now that you have some tools to ‘EASE’’ into this, I have a question for you: What will you be doing to combat trafficking in your community?
Start to advocate and engage by sharing this post on social media with the hashtag #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay