Only in recent history have humans agreed that women should vote; that one water fountain is enough; and that we shouldn’t smoke on planes or throw garbage out our car windows. When people took action, and mindsets shifted, we leveled up. We need to do the same thing when it comes to ending trafficking. Collectively, we need to mature in our mindsets, and we need to take action until our world agrees that this needs to change.
At any given moment, an estimated 40.3 million people are being victimized in situations of trafficking and exploitation (including forced marriage) worldwide – 25% of these are children. In order to end child trafficking worldwide, we need to come together to fight this issue.
So how do we end trafficking and exploitation?
We empower our communities to know what it looks like and what to do about it. By equipping those who may cross paths with victims (educators, service providers, health care workers), we create opportunities for intervention and prevention.
A decade ago, CNN asked our co-founder, Rob Morris what it would take to end human trafficking, and his answer was audacity, tenacity, and collective effort. This was his response to the reporter:
I think first of all it will take the audacity to believe that we CAN end it. Considering the overwhelming stats of how many people are being trafficked today, and how much money the exploitation of human beings generates, some would call it naive or idealistic to believe we can end it. I prefer to think that it is audacious. And it has only been people of audacity that have ever changed the world.
It will take tenacity. We need to be committed for the long haul. Albert Einstein said; “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stick with problems longer.” In other words … we don’t give up … even when it gets hard. The reality is traffickers are committed 24/7. We must be at least that committed to stopping them. I love the words of jazz singer Billie Holiday who said; “The difficult I’ll do right now. The impossible will take a little while.”
It will also take a collective effort. When Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, she added a fourth “P” to the international framework in combating human trafficking. In addition to Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, she added “Partnerships.” If we are going to end the trafficking of human beings, governments, non-government organizations, law enforcement, service providers, communities of faith, businesses and corporations, individuals, all have to work together. The reality is traffickers make up such a small fraction of the human race. Then there is the rest of us.
Focused on child trafficking, Love146 has many resources for how to get involved. A great place to start is by learning, such as finding out what are common vulnerabilities and what trafficking looks like. You can also create a community dialogue about what can be done to prevent and address trafficking in your neighborhood. There might already be a volunteer group in your area. You could also donate to Love146 to make sure we’re there with emergency support to survivors. We’re all in this mission to end trafficking together.