What Can I Do About Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking?
That’s a great question!
I’m so glad you asked.
And it’s a great place to be, hopefully, the beginning or continuation of an important journey.
STEP 1 – CARE
Now, if you’re asking what you can do to stop modern slavery, then you probably already care.
But take time to ask yourself, where is my heart?
If this reality isn’t where your heart is, please go find something you do care about and put your time, effort and resources there. There are a lot of people in the world who need a lot of help overcoming disease, poverty, hunger, injustice and more.
So, if stopping modern slavery isn’t what’s on your heart right now, find something that is!
If working for freedom for every single person on the planet, from your neighborhood to the cities and villages across an ocean, is something you care about, let’s get started!
Let me be honest.
I had no idea.
No idea about a lot of things.
I still don’t.
But I’m determined to help make a difference.
Even if I mess up or fail at first, I’m determined to get involved.
Once you discover that right now real people, someone’s daughter, son, mother or sister, is in a horrific situation in horrific conditions suffering even more horrific abuse, and you start mentioning it to a few people in everyday conversations, you’ll find (like I did) there are already a lot of totally ordinary and yet amazingly wonderful people who really care about people who are in, at risk of, or survivors of modern slavery / human trafficking.
There are a lot of people who have been thinking about and doing things about human trafficking for a long time before I got more involved. (You can read my journey so far here: For Your Eyes Only: Here Is My Heart... And Some Backstory)
Some of them may be a little weary.
Some may wonder why not everyone is passionate about this.
So please know this - we need you and your new energy and enthusiasm to add to our endurance.
STEP 2 – FIND (AT LEAST) TWO OTHER PEOPLE WHO CARE, TOO.
The first thing I’d encourage you to do is change your question slightly and start asking - what can we do about it.
What are your resources?
These could be skills, position, ability to organize, inspire, educate, advocate.
Time and willingness, prayer, effort, encouragement or money.
Ask - How can we multiply our impact?
I can only act as an individual, but when I combine what I can offer with what others can offer, the impact is much greater. The difference becomes more than the sum of the parts.
Those are the things I did.
1) In telling my friends what was on my heart, I found a few other people who cared about this, too. And between a combination of requests and offers, I found people willing to be in it with me.
2) I found that when I brought it up in conversation many people asked, “Have you heard of such and such?” Or “Oh, my friend/sister/second-cousin twice removed started/works for XYZ organization.
(I hadn’t heard about just about anything at the time.)
On one hand, this was encouraging. Super cool! I’m glad someone is already doing something about this.
On the other hand, it was discouraging. Sounds like everything is already being done. I’m not sure what I have to offer matters that much.
...Oh, contraire! Everyone has something to offer and some part to play.
I’m a reader, so I read whatever I was aware of and anything someone recommended, book, blog, or website.
As I read, I noticed what resonated in me. I could read a section on disease, poverty, hunger, and the need for clean water and education and take it all in very rationally. Then, when I read about violence against women, particularly violent violation of girls from 6 to 11 or younger, my heart cried.
Sometimes the tears rolled down my face.
Sometimes they just rolled down my heart.
In that, my heart-cry was revealed to me.
STEP 3 – BEGIN TO EXPLORE WHERE YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Over time, I thought about what was being revealed to me as what I cared about most and then I thought about where I could make a difference.
There are lots of important causes, and lots of different ways of being involved. There are big organizations and celebrities, politicians and governments, corporations and C-level execs and legislators and law enforcement agencies.
I’m not any of those things.
- I’m a husband, dad, guy.
- Not a survivor, woman or social worker.
- I’m not a doctor, lawyer or politician.
- I’m not a filmmaker, academic, billionaire, celebrity or CEO.
- I’m not even very good at social media.
When I thought about all that I’m not, I got a little discouraged (this is where the find 2 people bit get’s really important).
I can’t do what I can’t do, and I can’t give what I don’t have, so...
STEP 4 – TAKE INVENTORY
Then I asked, “what do I have?”
- some friends
- some skills
- some money
- some time
- some ideas
- some experience
- some vision
It’s a little like the scene in The Princess Bride on the battlements. “If only we had a wheelbarrow….”
Who is with you? (Make a list. Your list might be one person right now. That’s okay.)
What do you have? (Write down some things you have. You can refer to my inventory for some ideas to get you started.)
What are your (and by your, I mean y’all’s) resources? (Add to your list.)
“My steel, Fessick’s strength, your brains.”
The power of three.
You can’t give what you don’t have.
¨Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.¨
STEP 5 – COMMIT TO LEARN & TO MAKING PROGRESS (Plus... YOUR INVITATION)
As much as I’d like for this to be something we can end overnight, it’s not. It’s complex and massive.
So, commit to learning and to making progress.
One option is:
Sign up for a learning journey - Freedom Fortnight: 14 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was First Finding Out About Human Trafficking. Each day we’ll look at one thing I found out along my journey. Each day is going to end with one or more resources & simple next steps to take.
I recommend going on this journey with at least one or two other people. Who would you like to have on this journey with you? Consider inviting them to come with you.
I invite you to come along with me.