America, home of the free. But how accurate is that statement? Did you know that The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally?
- 81% of them are trapped in forced labor
- 25% of them are children
- 75% are women and girls
Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and the United States is no exception to this epidemic. Human trafficking is defined as modern-day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Beginning in 2014, every January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The following is an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation officially declaring the month’s title, given by President Barack Obama:
“As we work to dismantle trafficking networks and help survivors rebuild their lives, we must also address the underlying forces that push so many into bondage. We must develop economies that create legitimate jobs, build a global sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, and empower our daughters and sons with the same chances to pursue their dreams. This month, I call on every nation, every community, and every individual to fight human trafficking wherever it exists. Let us declare as one that slavery has no place in our world, and let us finally restore to all people the most basic rights of freedom, dignity, and justice.”
You’re in the clear… or are you?
The United Stated has progressed in championing equal rights and abolishing slavery, but we are still not in the clear. In fact, you may be contributing to the problem without even knowing it.
You may be making efforts in reducing your carbon footprint, but what about your slavery footprint? Sites like Slavery Footprint show you how many slaves “work” for you. Next time you’re out shopping, you can also refer to this guide to learn about where to find ethically sourced goods and companies.
Unfortunately, FH is no stranger to the devastation and heartbreaking reality of human trafficking.
FH serves in the hard places and sometimes, this refers to a place in the heart. Sex trafficking is a family business in India; sons manage transactions as pimps and sell their sisters into the sex trade. Human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, is the primary livelihood that provides more income than almost any other vocation in rural India. This makes changing the hearts of the family business a difficult task. FH teaches that safety, protection, and education of their children is imperative to transforming lives and restructuring communities.
On a trip to India, a couple of FH staff members were visiting the House of Palms to see these programs in action. The House of Palms serves as a safe haven for young girls escaping prostitution. Full of joy, their faces shining brightly with smiles, the young girls are able to pursue an education and a different future. Still, marks of the past exist: one young girl approached an FH staff member adorned with tattoos. She rolled up her sleeve to expose a small tattoo of her own. The 10 year old had the initial of her name tattooed on her forearm. The tattoo signified that she was of-age and available for initiation into the human trafficking racket. Sadly, she wasn’t the only young child with a tattoo on her forearm.
Tattoos on young children are not the only signs of human trafficking. Do you suspect or have concerns you know someone that is a victim of human trafficking? Here is a comprehensive list of possible indicators to look for.
Shedding Light and Hope
From our efforts at FH collaborating with city officials, local churches, law enforcement, city initiative to produce a documentary about sex trafficking, the non-profit organization Street Lights USA was born. Street Lights USA provides crisis intervention, stabilization, and housing, through a variety of programs and services tailored to meet the needs of young girls a risk for and victims of child sex trafficking.
Through education and child focused community transformation, your support of FH is remarkably changing the lives of these children. FH is dedicated to serving the vulnerable and providing hope to end generational trauma. In fact, education is one of our biggest interventions to help eradicate poverty and insight dignity in the youth around the world.
This January, join us in taking a greater stance against human trafficking–locally and worldwide.
Ending Prostitution in India
5 Ways You Can Help the Fight for Global Fair Labor
How Food for the Hungry is Working to Prevent Sex Trafficking