Thanks to the petitions many of you filled out and sent in, last week a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was launched by the Canadian government! I am excited about this for the following reasons:
- It shows that human trafficking is considered a priority in Canada
- It means we actually have a PLAN to deal with this crime (traffickers are organized, and if we seriously want to tackle this problem, we must also be organized)
- It involves many sectors and emphasizes the need to work together
- Though much more money is needed to fight exploitation, the pledged 25 million is a good start.
The Prevention of human trafficking
The Protection of victims
The Prosecution of Offenders
The Partnership of groups both nationally and internationally
I will not dive into the details of the Plan now (you can read it for yourself here). Instead I want to challenge you with this:
The government has made a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. It is now on us to create a Personal Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
How easy is it to criticize the government’s efforts or to say that they are not doing enough, while shying away ourselves from doing anything to deal with an issue? We criticize the government for overspending, while we ourselves carry the debt of our materialism on our shoulders. We claim that the government is inefficient while we waste time on facebook. We blame the government for not taking care of society’s needs, while we spend all our money and time on ourselves instead of volunteering or giving to those in need regularly. I know I am guilty of this.
So, let’s use the National Action Plan as an inspiration to make the fight against trafficking personal. In essence, YOU get to be the Prime Minister of your own life and your own community, and YOU have an opportunity to use your funds and your time to make a difference! Choose one (or more) of the ‘4 Pillars’ that resonate most with you, and start drafting a plan. But before you read some ideas below, ask yourself these two questions:
- How much time per week/month/year do I pledge to set aside for my Personal Action Plan?
- How much money per week/month/year do I pledge to set aside for my Personal Action Plan?
Once you’ve written down these answers, take a look at the different areas you can invest your time and money!
How You Can Prevent Human Trafficking:
Sponsor a child in a country where lack of opportunity results in vulnerability. Teach your sons to respect women, and don’t shy away from awkward conversation topics like pornography. Switch to fair trade products (ie coffee or chocolate etc). Spend quality time with your kids, and really get to know them (traffickers often prey on those who don’t have a strong support system at home). Organize a trafficking awareness event. Invest in our documentary project that seeks to inspire and equip governments and individuals to make good laws and wise choices. Make a KIVA microcredit loan to help people create a livelihood for themselves.
How You Can Protect Victims:
Sponsor a sex trafficking survivor. Cover a day’s/week’s/month’s expenses for a safe house. Have a gift card drive at your community, church, or office, and send them to victim aftercare services that can use them for necessities. Learn to identify victims of trafficking. Donate your time or money to victim hotline. Get to know your neighbours (I had victims of human trafficking living on my street and didn’t even know it). Volunteer your expertise to organizations that need help writing grant applications, or with graphic design, or counselling.
How You Can Prosecute Offenders:
Support and push for laws that empower police officers to do their work well. Show up in court for human trafficking cases when they are open to the public, to be a friendly face for victims who are testifying against their abusers. Consider a career in law enforcement.
How You Can Foster Partnership:
Organize an anti-trafficking event for your community and invite different groups to attend. Network, network, network. If you know business leaders, ask them to consider partnering with an anti-trafficking organization to support them financially. Research the work of different organizations.
Here’s the deal. We are ALL different, and play different roles in the fight against sex trafficking. Some of us can make a personal pledge of 1 hour and $5 per month to fight for the cause, while others can pledge 40 hours and $500 a week…and every combination between! The point of this is not to make you feel inadequate or guilty. The point of this is to help you form a plan so you can actually carry out what you want to do. We make plans for every other part of our lives, how EXCITING is it to make a plan to make a difference in this world?!
Below is my very rough Personal Action Plan. It is customized to take into account the fact that I have a full time day job, love to spend time with my husband, and want to make sure I have enough money to support some other things that are not related to this cause. Please do not feel that yours needs to look the same as mine, I just want to give you an example!
Michelle’s Personal Action Plan to Combat Trafficking
Do you know what’s great? When you commit a set amount of time and a set amount of money ahead of time, investing in the fight against human trafficking becomes an honour instead of a burden. I have a feeling the $500 I pledged here to support initiatives outside of Hope for the Sold this year will end up extending beyond that figure, but it is good to have a number that is non-negotiable.
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if you came up with your own Personal Action Plan, and if you are comfortable, I would like for you to share it with me via the contact section. If you want to keep this private (as I have kept some components), that is totally fine too! I would recommend sharing these with someone in your life who can hold you accountable.
If we want to bring exploitation to an end, we must stop expecting the government to do everything, but take ownership ourselves as well. That makes for an unstoppable movement!