Because of unique factors within each country and the many forms of human trafficking, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution. Eliminating human trafficking requires focused and serious action by countries of origin, transit, or destination, by international organizations, and by individuals within communities where slavery exists.
The good news is that each of us can play a part in combating modern-day slavery, whether directly or indirectly, in our daily lives. Human Trafficking Search provides tools and suggestions that you can use to take action and spark change.
There are amazing individuals who are putting time and effort into combating modern-day slavery domestically and internationally in their communities, while others travel across international borders. Depending on your available time, resources, and priorities, we hope you will decide what you are willing to do and take action now.
Research the Facts
The first step to taking action is to be informed. We recommend starting with our “Background” pages for general information. In addition, explore preliminary resources specific to your field on our Resources for Stakeholders page. For additional information, search our Global Database.
In addition to learning about what human trafficking is, how to identify it, and what you might personally be able to do about it, learn about previous cases in your area. SlaveryMap.org records reported cases around the world. Read about a few cases to learn about cases in your area.
Learning doesn’t have to happen alone, and there are multiple anti-trafficking groups where people meet to share ideas and organize initiatives to spread awareness and take action in their communities. Check to see if there is an already established group near you.
If you are a student, we encourage you to choose an issue on human trafficking and modern-day slavery for a term paper or thesis to become knowledgeable of the issue firsthand.
Spread the Word
Spreading the word starts with your inner circle of family, friends, and community. There are numerous things you can do to spread the word about human trafficking.
- Engage in conversations: Share resources and information that you have found interesting with family and friends. The first step in disseminating information about trafficking is to share and exchange thoughts about it.
- Utilize social media: Like or follow organizations that do anti-trafficking work. Post or share links to newspaper articles, photos, statistics, or short film clips - anything that can start a conversation about modern-day slavery. You can follow Human Trafficking Search here for updates and posts on current events in the anti-trafficking movement.
- Host a movie night: Watch a film about trafficking with your friends. Have a discussion afterwards about what you viewed and how you can take further action.
- Talk to Your Kids: Human Trafficking happens everywhere, including in schools. It is important that children and youth are aware of what trafficking is and how it occurs. Human Trafficking Search created a guide to support you in speaking with your kids about trafficking. Check it out here.
- Speak to Teachers and Parents: Teachers have the power to incorporate human trafficking into yearly social studies programs or host speakers on human trafficking. Parents can spread the word to their children.
- Do a Class Project or Presentation: If you are a student, share your knowledge on human trafficking with your classmates by gearing a project or presentation to the topic of human trafficking.
- Print and Post Informational Posters: Get permission from bar owners, apartment complex managers, school officials, small clinic operators, and any public venue to post the definition of trafficking, the national hotline number, questions to ask about different situations, and how to get help. We recommend contacting a local organization that may already be doing outreach to see how you can support by posting.
While spreading the word in your close circle is essential, there are additional ways to speak up and demand changes. Here are a few:
- Write: Writing about human trafficking is a great way to speak up.
- Write a blog post about human trafficking: If you have a blog, share your knowledge about human trafficking with your readers.
- Write an Editorial Piece: Submit your writing to a local newspaper to spread awareness and spark communal action.
- Contact your Local, State and Federal Representatives: Write a letter or call your representatives and ask them to make human trafficking an issue at the forefront of their work. Demand legislation that will target traffickers and support programs for survivors. Call Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 to connect to your Senator or Representative. Check out Polaris Project for information on state and federal anti-trafficking laws and policies or Shared Hope International for state rankings on human trafficking.
- Apply Travel Pressure: Are you planning your next holiday? Check out the Trafficking in Persons Report and find out which countries are the most serious offenders. Write a letter to their travel bureau and tell them you won’t visit the country until they address the issue.
- Encourage Magazine and Television Stations to Publish Stories about Human Trafficking: Many people read magazines and watch TV. Ask your local station or favorite magazine to publish a story on human trafficking.
- Save The National Human Trafficking Hotline Number in your Phone: Know the signs and red flags of possible human trafficking. Save 1-888-373-7888 in your phone and be ready to call the hotline number if you suspect human trafficking is occurring.
Invest your Time and Money
Invest Your Time
Creating a world free of modern-day slavery takes time and energy. If you are willing to dedicate time to eradicating trafficking, there are many things that you can do. We first recommend that you contact an organization in your area. To locate an organization, check out this map, which outlines nearly all anti-trafficking organizations in the world. Before starting your own project, we encourage you to explore collaborating with an organization that may have more knowledge and resources or may already be doing the project you are interested in doing.
- Volunteer, Intern, or do a Fellowship with an Anti-trafficking Organization: Contact an organization near you to see how you can get involved or if they have Internship/Fellowship opportunities.
- If you are a Lawyer: Many victims of trafficking need pro bono legal services to be certified as a victim of trafficking and apply for T or U-visas. Contact a social service agencies in your area to see how you can help by representing a client. Need supplemental information on how? Check out our various resources for Lawyers.
- Work to Provide Resources for At-Risk Individuals or Survivors of Trafficking: There are numerous ways to decrease the likelihood that someone will be trafficked. In addition, if someone is a survivor of trafficking, they are in need of numerous resources. Here are a few things that you can do to support these individuals:
- Work with Rehabilitation Services: Whether for individuals who abuse substances or for formerly trafficked persons, rehabilitation is integral to decreasing the risk of trafficking and to supporting survivors of trafficking to recover from their trafficking situation.
- Work with a Mentoring Organization or Informally Mentor a Youth: At-risk youth often do not have a support system at home or in society. Traffickers manipulate these vulnerabilities to control individuals. Mentorship is a great way to provide a space where at-risk youth feel supported.
- Work with an Empowerment Organization: By addressing difficult issues impacting children and youth, creating a safe area for discussion and belonging, and working through life's struggles together, we can create a sense of community which helps prevent the push and pull factors of trafficking. Additionally, the process of empowerment is essential to survivors’ rehabilitation. Some examples of empowerment initiatives may include life skills training, peer mentoring, educational projects, after-school programs, and summer camps.
Invest your Money
- Invest in or raise funds for an anti-trafficking organization in your community: Organizations need funds to provide services to survivors. Find an organization near you and collaborate with them to start a fundraiser aimed at eradicating trafficking.
- Donate Needed Amenities: Survivors of trafficking are often in desperate need of food, clothing, shelter, translators, medical attention, transportation, crisis counseling and other services. Agencies providing emergency shelters and transitional housing are in need of small and large donations of household items, clothing, and food, among other things. Contact your local anti-trafficking organization to see what is most needed, and mobilize a group or organize a drive to collect donated goods.
- Invest in Girls' Education: Cultural factors such as the perceived inferior status of young girls often denies them formal education. While some parents are willing to sell either their male or female child in situations of extreme financial hardship, the female child is the first to go because of her lower status in the family. By Investing in girls’ education, you are supporting a girl who becomes a mother, aware of her rights, and with more opportunities to support her family.
- Demand Slave-Free Goods: Even if you never come face-to-face with a slave, your shirt may very well have been sewn by one. Be an informed consumer who refuses to directly or indirectly exploit others. Be willing to change your habits of consumption to better reflect your values even if this requires a slight increase in the cost for a product or service. Listed are some resources to aid you in making conscientious choices about what you are buying:
- My Slavery Footprint: Similar to your Ecological footprint, the Slavery Footprint allows you to measure the extent to which your consumption is connected to slavery and trafficking.
- FairtradeUSA: Fair Trade mitigates the use of trafficking through fair business practices and certification of goods so you know that what you are buying is just that—Fair.
- Free2Work: Provides reports on products and rankings of companies based on their relation to trafficking. Reports span various industries.
- Products of Slavery: An interactive website that shows where and what products are produced using child labor or forced labor.
- GoodWeave: Works to end child labor in the carpet industry by assessing and certifying fair practices. GoodWeave also produces rugs and provides education and opportunities to formerly trafficked and at-risk children.
- Purchase from businesses that work with or are run by Former Trafficked Persons: In addition to making purchases that are slavery-free, former trafficked persons have also started numerous business to support themselves and to support the anti-trafficking movement. Purchasing items made by these individuals will allow them to rebuild their lives and further support the anti-trafficking movement. One example is Sari Bari, which provides employment opportunities for formerly exploited women.
- Create Economic Opportunities: By addressing economic conditions for recruitment, we can reduce the push factor of being tricked into trafficking. Create or support employment opportunities in line with actual market opportunities. Don’t over saturate a location with only one marketable skill. Provide counselors and life skills programs to create a holistic approach to prevent trafficking.
- Hire to Empower: Are you in charge of hiring employees? Begin the supply chain with fair hiring and check out Verite for a toolkit to start off on the right path.
- Check your Supply Chain: While you may not be directly contributing to the trafficking in persons, trafficking may be occurring somewhere down your supply chain. Conduct an assessment of your supply chain by exploring your company’s slavery footprint and discover solutions by Made in a Free World. Additional resources include the Fair Trade Federation, FairTrade USA, and the Ethical Trading Initiative.