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Trafficking Awareness Month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a specific highlight to January 11th as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  It is estimated that more than 20 million men, women and children are victims of human trafficking and subjected to atrocities such as forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude and sex trafficking. In that light, there are a few actions we each can take to become more informed and more engaged about this daily tragedy. Here are a few suggestions:

 

Learn More: Visit the US Department of State/Modern Slavery, The Global Slavery Index, and Polaris to learn more about human trafficking.

 

Become a Responsible Consumer: Take the Slavery Footprint Survey to find out how you may be unknowingly supporting slave labor. Learn what you can do about it by visiting CRS Fair Trade. Learn how your favorite brands are working to address forced and child labor at Free2Work.

 

Advocate: Engage your elected officials. Ask what they are doing to combat human trafficking and press them to take action against this issue in your community and across the nation. Use Catholic Charities USA’s Trafficking Action page or USCCB’s Migration Policy page to learn more about current legislative issues and then take action. Act globally on the “root causes” of human trafficking through Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a joint initiative of the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.

 

Travel with Integrity: When making travel arrangements, consider booking with a hotel or tour company who has signed the Code of Conduct for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. According to their website, “Child sex tourism often takes place in hotels and uses other travel infrastructure. That’s why we believe that working with responsible tourism companies is a powerful way to keep children safe and prevent these crimes.”

 

Talk: Involve the children in your life to learn about human trafficking – who victims are and what they need with this age appropriate “Young Person’s Guide to Trafficking in Children and Young People”

 

Watch: View and share this informational video on human trafficking and how to identify and assist victims is part of the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness campaign, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Teach: Use curriculum developed by the IJPC Subcommittee of Sisters Against Human Trafficking to teach high school students about human trafficking. While developed for Catholic high schools, it is currently being adapted for more audiences.

 

Pray: Observe the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking on February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita. Click here for a St. Josephine Bakhita prayer card.

 

Report Trafficking: Report any suspected trafficking, exploitation, or suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. If a victim is in urgent need of assistance, please contact law enforcement immediately.