5 Immediate Ways You can Fight Human Trafficking & Have a Big Impact
Updated: Sep 14
#1: DRINK, EAT, OR WEAR FAIR TRADE
We can vote for a better world through the products we buy.
What do I mean by “fair trade?”
There are three simple principles when it comes to distinguishing “fair trade” items:
Protection of the Environment.
Basically, it's a process that ensures all parties involved – from the original harvester of the raw materials through the entire production line to the seller of the finished product – are engaging in fair and equitable practices where everyone is getting their fair share of the deal and where the money profited from these items are cycled back into developing communities (e.g. building schools) through a sustainable process with minimal environmental impact.
How can you tell that the Fair Trade product you’re interested in buying is legit?
Unfortunately, there are no official standards which are legally enforced to determine if products are considered “fair trade” or not.
However, there are certification programs that exist to determine if products are indeed “fair trade,” but vary depending on their attributes, requirements, labeling rules, etc.
The three categories in which these fair trade validation systems can be lumped into are:
3rd Party Inspection & Certification (e.g. Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) or IMO))
Membership Organizations (e.g. Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO))
Brand Programs (e.g. Whole Foods (Whole Trade), The Bodyshop (Community Trade), etc.)
According to the Fair World Project, “brand-neutral inspection and certification of products by an independent organization to a credible transparent standard is the most effective way of assuring consumers that what they buy in fact contain fairly produced and traded agricultural materials.”
The bottom line: this is still an area that needs to be developed and reassessed by simplifying processes to make them more efficient, flexible and compatible.
But the silver lining is that a distinct enforceable standard for determining “fair trade” is emerging from continuing efforts.
Why buy Fair Trade at all?
Peace of Mind
You will be supporting a system that is just in every way possible (or at least working towards it). You will be voting with your dollars that the products you choose to ingest, masticate, and/or don are a statement of your belief in a fair and just world without trafficking.
The items may cost you a bit more, but isn’t that extra cost worth knowing that no forced labor was involved in the creation and development of those products?
No doubt, the quality of the product will be better, but so will the quality of your life and the lives of those who aided in getting that product into your hands.
Greater value comes at a greater cost, but there’s not a cost great enough that could justify one of a human life.
Life is precious.
Knowing that what you chose to buy came from a reputable source, a trusted source, will you not experience joy from using such a valuable product? Really, you can’t go wrong! You can only go right and up from here.
#2: BUY LOCAL
Very similar to the “fair trade” concept, you will be supporting local artisans, farmers, and the like who live and work in your community.
Plus, it gives you a valuable opportunity to create and develop relationships with those who care about the work and products they are bringing forth.
You can learn about their process, get deep “behind the scenes,” be inspired and even more compassionate about supporting them.
Why not contribute to the sustainability, the growth and prosperity of your very own community?
#3: DON'T CONSUME PORN
An awkward and uncomfortable topic, but one too great not to ignore.
Bottom line: Porn harms – impacting one’s heart, brain, and world.
Porn is insanely addictive.
So much so, that it was labeled as “the crack cocaine of sexual addiction” by Stanford University psychologist Dr. Al Cooper.
It’s also inextricably linked to sex trafficking.
The methods used to produce some types of pornography are often inline with the definition of trafficking where force, fraud or coercion are used on victims to get them to comply with performing acts of pornography.
Exploiters may be either the trafficker and/or the purchaser of sex, who may film the victims as a source of income, advertisement, blackmail, or personal pleasure.
Used to desensitize the victim and also “train” him/her on various acts he/she may be forced to do when with a “client.”
The consumption of porn just adds fuel to the fire of demand. The more a person views porn, the more likely they’ll want to make what they see a reality.
#4: BE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT YOU SAY & DO
Words and actions are both powerful.
Both can create and edify worlds.
Both can decimate them.
While society and media may glamorize the “pimp” lifestyle and use the word interchangeably to mean “cool, dope, rad, or awesome,” do not feel the need to engage in such idiotic banter or compete with such a demonic lifestyle.
The reality is that “pimping” is cruel, dehumanizing, degrading, and despicable work.
It perpetuates the physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual violence against women.
Don’t buy into the hype.
Speak out against it.
And offer the REAL definition of what it means to be a “pimp” because someone has to set the record straight.
Why not let it be you?
This goes the same for the word “prostitute” and connecting it with a victim who is a child.
There is no such thing as a “child prostitute.”
Think about it.
Do children really grow up wanting to desperately be a prostitute?
The answer is a flat out NO.
Rethink your attitudes and perceptions.
What images or words come to mind when you think of the word “prostitute?”
What comes to mind when you think of a victim of sexual exploitation?
Learn the difference.
Because there is a very important and clear distinction.
Reframe the Narrative.
#5: DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO MEDIA THAT PIGEONHOLES WOMEN & MEN
More specifically, media that objectifies and hyper-sexualizes women and girls, and media that hyper-masculinizes men and boys.
Typical mass media draws a very narrow, rigid lens of focus.
It feeds us illusions and delusions of the “ideal” man, woman, relationship, lifestyle, career, family, etc.
Girls from a very young age are taught that their value and worth stem from their looks – reinforced and validated by the hyper-sexualization of women illustrated in media, which continually guide them on how to dress and how to behave.
These messages are subconsciously absorbed and internalized, whereby girls then begin to act out, behave, and dress just as media has instructed them to – as sexualized beings and inevitably, regarded merely as objects.
They’re encouraged to see this as their own choice, as a declaration of empowerment. To reframe, presenting oneself in the most clichéd and stereotypical way possible as a kind of liberation.
– Jean Kilbourne
And how does media depict men?
Men are often displayed as macho – strong, brawny, and aggressive – where violence is often intertwined with this sense of masculinity and where media often exhibits men as the very perpetrators of such violence.
And the impact this damaging perspective has on boys?
Well, it allows boys to grow up in a world where they are encouraged to be tough and insensitive; where they’re told that to express their feelings and communicate what’s on their minds and hearts is a sign of weakness; and where the idea of “rejecting the feminine” is constantly being beaten into them.
Media is a powerful tool to share and spread information at lightening speed.
It has the power to shape beliefs, mold concepts, restructure values, honor or falsify truths, and redirect mindsets.
It is a HUGE influencer in our daily lives whether we are conscious of it or not – because we are constantly being “sold” something.
Only 8% of an ad's message is received by the conscious mind. The rest is worked and reworked deep within the recesses of the brain.
- Rance Craine