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Activist Faith

When I speak about stopping human trafficking, people often ask, “How?”

I don’t have all of the answers, but in our book and DVD Not in My Town, Charles Powell and I include a chapter that shares many of the solutions we are discovering along the way. These include ideas we have implemented, along with many we have picked up from our friends and partners in this effort. Choose one or more from the list below and work to help end human trafficking.

1. Start (or Sign) a Petition.  With the ease and proliferation of electronic petitions, we ae finding direct results from such efforts. A myriad of options can be found in an online search.  I recommend http://actioncenter.polarisproject.org/. The Polaris Project, an antitrafficking organization in Washington, D.C., provides direct links to major initiatives at the public policy or corporate level.

Specific successes we have been involved in directly or indirectly in the past two years include the removal of the erotic services section at Craigslist.com, the ending of massage parlor and spa ads in The Washington Post , Choice Hotels’ policy change regarding child prostitution, and recent legislation regarding human trafficking in Alabama and Georgia.

In fact, 2010 became a major year for increased legislation regarding human trafficking, with more than 40 new state bills enacted and more than 350 introduced nationwide.

2. Hold Corporations Accountable: Ever wonder what your favorite brands are doing to make sure their products are slave free? There is a great tool available to send preformatted letters to most major brands at http://www.chainstorereaction.com/. Your two minutes might help a company choose to cut off slavery from their supply chain. As the late Neil Kearney, former president of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation, once stated, “If a business cannot afford to be ethical, then they cannot afford to be in business.” Another service, http://www.free2work.org/, allows users to view “ratings” of major brands by name or product type. And check out the interactive map at http://productsofslavery.org/.

3. Prevention: There are many ways you can serve that not only help end trafficking, but also prevent it before it takes place. Some areas you can get involved in that could help keep future individuals from trafficking include:

  • services to runaway and homeless teenagers;
  • refugee services;
  • ministries and education to ethnic groups, including conversational English courses;
  • outreach to female juvenile detention centers or prisons;
  • your local chamber of commerce (to help stand against local businesses supporting trafficking and adult services);
  • journalism (writing to speak out against trafficking);
  •  music and other creative arts (supporting the fight against trafficking through awareness at concerts, art galleries, and other events.);
  • awareness resources: wearing shirts, sporting bumper stickers, and similar merchandise to let people know about human trafficking and how they can stand against it.

You’ll find these and many other ways people just like you are joining the movement to end slavery, locally and around the world. In the end, the best answer to the “How?” of ending human trafficking is you. People who love God and live His love to help victims of human trafficking will create the change necessary for us to truly say “Not in my town.”

“The true test of faith is how we treat those who can do nothing in return.” -Dillon Burroughs

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DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending ChristianityNot in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (November). Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.

[Originally posted here.]

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