1. Find out how many slaves work for you. Think you’re off the hook? That slavery was abolished years ago? Take this survey to find out your slavery footprint. It will take about 15 minutes, and is well worth it. The key here is to be honest. The result may shock you – let that push you to reconsider your consumer habits because lives are actually on the line.
2. Sign three petitions. Tell the government of Canada that: (a) Canada should adopt a national action plan to fight human trafficking, (b) that you do not support the legalization of prostitution, and (c) that Canadians who traffic people outside of the country’s borders should be prosecuted for their crimes. Get more details about these anti-trafficking petitions and send a message to your representative! For those of you in the U.S., you can find an amazing selection of petitions here.
3. Donate your old cell phones. Have a cellphone that is broken or is collecting dust on your shelf? Phones4Freedom reuses or recycles them to help warn remote villages in impoverished countries of trafficking operations. Find our more about this innovative anti-trafficking program and send in your phones!
4. Watch The Candy Shop. This short film uses beautiful but haunting metaphor to demonstrate how boys get lured into the business of trafficking girls and women. Film length is approximately 30 minutes. Watch now.
5. Get trained. Apply to the Not for Sale Abolitionist Academy, a program in San Francisco that offers intensive one week courses that prepare you to combat human trafficking effectively. Do you want to learn about how to investigate trafficking situations or how to provide aftercare for victims? Here is your chance. The cost of attending the San Francisco Academy is $300 for the 5 day session or $575 for the investigative + aftercare package. Dates are set in May and June, get more details here. Who knows, it might be the first step to you fighting trafficking on the front lines, like my friend Saskia Wishart.
- Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking by Benjamin Perrin
- The Natashas: Inside The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn.
7. The ten minute challenge. Set a timer and give yourself 10 minutes to check out these 10 organizations, spend one minute on each. I have a sneaking suspicion you might end up shutting off the timer and spending more time, but start with the not-so-daunting challenge of just 10 minutes. (Bonus points: make a donation to the one that resonates with you most!)
- Transitions Global
- International Justice Mission
- Walk With Me
- Love 146
- EVE (Formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating)
- Sextrade 101
- Stella’s House
8. Buy a greeting card. Not only do survivors of sex trafficking undergo an extensive healing process physically and emotionally, but they also have to learn some life skills. Sanctuary Spring offers some of these young women opportunities to rebuild their lives, one greeting card at a time. Instead of heading to Hallmark for your next greeting card, why not get it through Sanctuary Spring, where sex trafficking survivors craft these beautiful cards.
9. Movie night. Rent, borrow, or buy TRADE or The Whistleblower. Feature length movies are a good way to see a story unfold. Really engaging – it was TRADE that got me into anti-trafficking activism. Don’t bother making popcorn, these are tough movies to watch. The Whistleblower should be available on DVD later this month, and TRADE has been out for a a few years already.
10. Stop supporting the commercial sex industry. Trafficked girls and women are often used in pornography, strip clubs & massage parlours. If you are providing demand, traffickers will keep filling supply. Economics 101.
11. Know the hotlines. If you are in the U.S. and want to report a tip, call 1-888-373-7888. It is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Watch this clip to see how important it is. In Canada, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to report a tip, and if you are a victim of sexual exploitation and need to talk, call Canada’s national hotline at 1-866-528-7109.
12. Support Hope for the Sold. We are working on an exciting project to help prevent sex trafficking on a massive scale. We would love your help to make that a reality. Learn more about this project and how you can support us here.
Once you’ve tried these action steps, let me know how they went and what you learned. Let’s make this year count!