We believe that education raises awareness of risk which helps lead to prevention. In addition to our prevention strategies which raise awareness within at-risk populations, we believe the community at large must be made more aware of the problem of human trafficking if we are to combat this threat both within our communities and on a global level. Trafficking happens within the context of communities – whether at a local scale or a global scale.
Vulnerable populations can most easily be exploited when the larger community is unaware a problem even exists. As individuals, we are becoming more and more isolated from each other – even within a world where social media allows for an unprecedented level of communication. Many people no longer have a direct relationship with the farmers who grew their food, with the seamstress or tailor who created their clothing or household linens, or with the restaurant worker who prepared their dinner. Some call this progress.
Perhaps, but there is a new level of vulnerability that has emerged among a now largely invisible workforce. We may not see the refugee who has recently moved to our country and only knows enough English to work “behind the scenes” in a job “no one else wants” with little communication with outsiders. We may not see the troubled teenager in our neighborhood who is struggling with feelings of inadequacy because she is different than her peers at school. Further, we may not see that her insecurities make her emotionally vulnerable to be “groomed” by a trafficker.
If we are to eradicate human trafficking, we must understand not only the problem itself, but the vulnerabilities that allow for the problem to flourish both in our communities and globally. We must understand generational poverty and structural injustice. We must learn to recognize and stand against gender inequalities, violence, and child abuse. We must understand that sometimes drug addiction, homelessness, and depression are not the problem, but the outcome of a situation where a vulnerable individual has been trafficked.
Thus, we must not only work to raise awareness about human trafficking, but we must also strive to educate ourselves and our neighbors on the risk factors that create vulnerabilities and allow for the exploitation of at risk children and person groups. We do this through events, conferences, and speaking engagements.
If you would like our help planning an event within your community, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or request a speaker for your church, organization, school, or workplace by filling out this form: Request A Speaker.