February 8, 2024
5 Ways to Continue Human Trafficking Awareness Beyond January
Have you ever heard stories about human trafficking that left you so energized to join the fight you couldn’t wait to begin? Have you realized weeks later that life happened and somehow the intention to get involved got pushed aside? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are not alone! The month of January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, but the fight against human trafficking doesn’t end on January 31! If you are still looking for an opportunity to engage in the fight against human trafficking, read on for helpful tips for getting involved beyond January.
The truth is that for many people the problem of human trafficking feels so big, so awful, and so hidden that we wonder what kind of difference we could even make. Sometimes it just hurts too much to think about such egregious crimes happening to vulnerable people, or the immediacy of daily life means that other tasks have crowded out our good intentions to make a difference. In fact, it is often easier to push the thought of it away instead. But here is the good news: where human trafficking depends on isolating people and ensuring compliance by preying on vulnerabilities, combatting it depends on people uniting through cooperative efforts at every level of involvement, whether big or small.
Here are five ways to get involved in the anti-human trafficking effort today:
1. Educate Yourself and Others
The more we know about trafficking, the more effectively we can combat it. Invest time in educating yourself about the different forms of trafficking, its root causes, and the tactics employed by traffickers. Talk about it within your sphere of influence. Online courses, documentaries, and reputable websites offer helpful resources such as the 2023 TIP Report and Polaris’ informational pages (start here). Locally, Reset180 can help deepen your understanding of and stay up-to-date on the evolving nature of the issue in the Northern Virginia community.
2. Support Anti-Trafficking Organizations
If you are looking for a new cause financially to support in the new year, this is an easy one! Anti-trafficking organizations play a crucial role in prevention, intervention, and survivor support. Supporting local organizations like Reset180 is a powerful way to build resilience against human trafficking within your own community. By supporting Reset180 as an Abolitionist you contribute directly to the mission. You can also volunteer your time and skills, as well as participate in fundraising events.
3. Know the Signs of Suspicious Activity and How to Report Them
Develop a keen awareness of your surroundings and be vigilant for signs of human trafficking. Be attentive to individuals who exhibit fearful behavior, restricted movement, or signs of physical abuse. Find out more about trafficking indicators here and here. If you witness suspicious activity, report it to law enforcement immediately, and contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 to make reports confidentially.
4. Raise Awareness in Your Community
Amplifying the conversation on human trafficking is a powerful way to combat a business that relies on isolation, lies, and silence. Participate in or organize community events, workshops, or awareness campaigns to educate people about the signs and techniques of trafficking. Invite a speaker to talk to your group. The more people are aware, the more likely they are to recognize and report trafficking activities. A well-informed community is a resilient one.
5. Advocate for Stronger Legislation
Engage in advocacy efforts to strengthen anti-trafficking laws and policies. Stay informed about current legislation and be an active voice for change. Write letters, attend town hall meetings, or engage with policymakers to express the importance of robust, trauma-informed legal frameworks that protect victims and survivors and hold traffickers accountable. Circle back to your favorite anti-trafficking organizations – there are plenty of opportunities to partner in advocacy with them!
It is easy to feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed by the problem of human trafficking. But every action, no matter how small, contributes to the larger anti-trafficking effort. Taking the first step is often the hardest but it is the one that will lead to more involvement – and therefore greater impact. Together we can turn the tide on this humanitarian crisis.