Take Action

"It's very easy to side with the perpetrator, all they ask from us is our silence."
Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery

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. By coming to this site, you have already proven that you want to learn the facts and become aware of the issues, or are looking for a deeper understanding. You are on your way to becoming an educated and active abolitionist.

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, decide what you are willing to do and take action now.

Abolitionists Unite: Is there a Stop Modern-Slavery group in your community? Check to see if there is already an established meet-up group to join near you. If you are a student or want to start a group in your area, check this page for ideas. Invite guest speakers, support each other, raise funds for organizations; the options are plentiful!

Get the word out: Utilize social media and post a link on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to newspaper articles, photos, statistics, and short film clips - anything that can start a conversation about slavery in today's society. Write a personal blog entry about a current event you are interested in. Engage in conversations sharing resources and information that you have found interesting. If you are a student you can do a class project or presentation to reach a whole audience of peers. Host a movie night and watch a film about trafficking. Share what you know about the disturbing reality of the exploitation of others and see how your friends respond.

“Hanging” Out in Your Community: Something tangible with real results in your community that either an individual or a group can do is print off informational posters. Get permission from bar owners, apartment complex managers, school officials, small clinic operators, and any public venue to post the definition, the national hotline number, questions to ask about different situations, and how to get help. Check out Not For Sale and print one of their downloadable files to get started!

Mobilize the Community: Host an awareness event mobilizing members of your community to stop modern day slavery. Use A Community Members' Guide to Fighting Human Trafficking and Slavery in your meeting for understandable and relevant information.

Use Your Words: Are you or someone you know a writer? Write an editorial piece and submit it to your local newspaper. Encourage magazines and television stations to publish stories about modern-day slavery and how to become an abolitionist to stop it.

Media Minded: Do you work in the media field and want to cover a human trafficking case? Are you a service provider or advocate who is dealing with media attention? Utilize Collaborating with the Media: Guidelines for Social and Legal Service Providers Working with Survivors of Human Trafficking in order to protect clients as well as get their stories noticed in an ethical way.

Research the Facts: Choose an issue on human trafficking and modern-day slavery for a term paper, thesis, or dissertation. Become knowledgeable of the issues first hand. Request a fellowship working with survivors or vulnerable populations.

Stand Up for the Little Ones: Read Kids as Commodities? Child Trafficking and What You Can Do About It and see how you can mobilize against child trafficking.

Teach Your Kids: Be a guest speaker in your child’s classroom or speak to teachers and parents about including human trafficking issues into the yearly social studies programs. Children and youth who are aware of the basics of poverty, injustice and modern-day slavery are able to engage in conversations with others in their age range in the classroom or during summer activities. Involuntary domestic servants are typically confined to the home. A child in the household might be able to ask the parents about the basic rights of the individual.

Street Wise: Are there street kids in your community who are substance abusers making them even more vulnerable to trafficking? Start or improve rehabilitation services to these kids. Goutte d'Eau Rehabilitation Project: Example of a Good Practice Specific to the rehabilitation of substance-abusing street children is a great resource covering the different phases of recovery, best practices, and much more.

Adopt a Youth: Do you know of a youth who is having a hard time at home? Children who are physically or sexually abused at home are at a higher risk of running away or becoming homeless youth. This may make them easily accessible for sexual exploitation by pimps who are adept at creating a pseudo-family environment by promising money, love and affection to children coming from dysfunctional homes who are seeking care and nourishment. These sexual predators then strip these children of whatever money they make and severely abuse them in order to establish a relationship of dependency. Formally get involved with a mentoring organization or informally adopt a youth to help prevent child sexual exploitation.

Photo: Sandi Giver

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. Invest in girls’ education for by doing this, you are investing in a girl who becomes a mother, aware of her rights, and with more opportunities to support her family.

Empower Youth: Create or join empowerment programs such as life skills training, peer mentoring, educational projects, after-school programs, and summer camps. By addressing difficult issues impacting children and youth, creating a safe area for discussion and belonging, working through life's struggles together, we can create a sense of community which helps prevent the push and pull factors of trafficking.

Recovery Zone: The road to recovery from the traumatic experience of being a slave is a difficult and long journey. Provide assistance to freed slaves. Rebuilding Lives: An Introduction to Promising Practices in the Rehabilitation of Freed Slaves provides information on the emergency care and reintegration on topics such as protecting clients, a safe place to stay, physical health, food and water, psychosocial care, activities that calm and heal, teaching rights, skills for daily life, finding families, help from lawyers, schooling and training, and getting settled again.

Donate Energy and Items: Work with existing social service agencies to help survivors of trafficking who 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 which can be filled simply by individuals who typically donate clothing and food already or by groups who want to come together and donate larger items such as vehicles.

Speak Up: Know the indicators and learn the red flags of possible human trafficking. Save 1-888-373-7888 in your phone and be ready to call the hotline number if a human trafficking case is suspected. You can check out Know the Signs or utilize any of the other resources made available. UNODC has created a printable list which can be easily shared with others.

First Responder: Are you a first responder to possible cases of human trafficking? Order your own First Aid Kit: for Use by Law Enforcement Responders in Addressing Human Trafficking which is used by police officers, law enforcement, border guards and immigration or customs officers. This kit contains informational posters on the DOs and DON’Ts of working with victims of human trafficking as well as contact point sheets and informational leaflets.

Cyber Intervention: Craigslist shut down its adult services section in 2010 after being targeted as a hub for the sex trade. Currently, Backpage.com is under scrutiny and you can learn why at CNN Freedom Project . The heart of the issue is DEMAND since traffickers and pimps will always find an outlet either online or under the radar. On the other hand, Backpage.com can be utilized by law enforcement to find missing and underage youth exploited for sexual purposes.

Create a "John's School": The buyers of sex, or the "johns," don't always understand the unintended consequences of their actions. Help to reduce repeat offenders by: teaching customers of prostitutes that they are playing a part in increasing human kidnapping and trafficking; promoting the physical and sexual abuse of children who are forced into prostitution as teens and preteens; creating a class of "throw-away" young people likely to be addicted to drugs; and reducing their life expectancy. Visit Veronica's Voice to check out their Offenders Accountability Re-Education Program and start a similar program in your own community.

Map it Out: SlaveryMap.org is a useful resource to check on just how widespread reported cases of human trafficking and modern-day slavery have been. Learn about previous cases and add found reports which you can add to the map. By collaborating on this, people who visit the site for the first time will visually see that slavery is in fact happening somewhere close to home.

Support Local Anti-Slavery and Human Rights Organizations: Voice thanks to government officials for their needed support to the individuals risking their lives to help free slaves and assist vulnerable populations. Raise funds to financially support programs lead by anti-corrupt and transparent organizations. Volunteer, intern, or work for a local anti-slavery or human rights organization. Provide specialized trainings with up-to-date information and tactics for those working in the field to increase effectiveness and outreach.

Take it to the Big Guys: If you are a survivor or an abolitionist wanting to see an end to modern-day slavery, you can play a powerful role in affecting trafficking policy on every level. Share with your local, state and federal representatives that you expect them to pass 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 the Center for Women Policy Studies for information on state anti-trafficking laws and policies.

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.

Represent: Many victims of trafficking need pro bono legal services to be certified as a victim of trafficking and apply for T-visas. Contact social service agencies in your area to see how you can help and represent a client. Need supplemental information on how? A Guide for Legal Advocates Providing Services to Victims of Human Trafficking will help in a variety of ways.

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 the site Verite for a toolkit to start off on the right path.

Demand Slave Free Goods: Even if you never come face-to-face with a slave, the hands that made your shirt may have been sewn by one. Don't be a consumer who is indirectly or directly exploiting others. See how many slaves might be working for you by checking out your slavery footprint. Don't seek low paid or free domestic servants, buy super cheap goods which are more likely using slave labor, adopt babies who are possibly sold for financial gain, or purchase sexual services or organs for transplants. Be a consumer whose purchasing choices match your value of a human life, and 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. Someone’s life may depend on this.

Conscientious consumers can be careful to purchase fair trade coffee and other products sold by companies in fair labor conditions. Purchasing items made by former slaves will also help families build their lives. Find out how what we buy plays a role in slavery.

Fair Trade

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect for all individuals involved, that seeks greater justice in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers. When buying goods, look for certified fair trade labels to support the employment of freed workers.

Here is a list of a few organizations and companies that sell Fair Trade items ranging from clothing and jewelry to food and household items.

FairTradeUSA "Each time you purchase a fair trade product you help support families and causes all over the world"

Goodweave "works to end child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in Nepal, India and Afghanistan"

Greater Good "Where every purchase gives back to a worthy cause"

SariBari "Offers freedom to women who are trapped in the sex trade and provides opportunities to women who are vulnerable to trafficking"

Ten Thousand Villages "strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries"

World of Good "A Global Marketplace where every purchase makes a positive impact" by Ebay”

Interested in learning more about slave labor?

BehindTheLabel.org is a multimedia news website covering the stories of people fighting for fundamental human and labor rights against the goliath global clothing industry

Department of Labor’s list of goods produced by child labor and forced labor

Ethical Trading Initiative is a ground-breaking alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organizations that work in partnership to improve the working lives of poor and vulnerable people across the globe who make or grow consumer goods

Free2Work provides consumers with information on how products relate to modern-day slavery

What We Buy Campaign shows that slavery can occur at different stages, from the production of raw materials to the manufacture of goods

Make sure to explore our featured organizations to see how you can either get involved or become inspired to expand your own work.

Interested to see your fair trade organization here or have another idea on how others can take action? Email Us

Human Trafficking Search is filled with news reports, articles, and practitioner guides on 120 countries and in 14 languages that will help you become aware and take action. Please check out our Featured Resources to find one specific to your needs.