More Than Just Awareness

One of my pet peeves is the phrase “raise awareness” (it’s an odd pet peeve, I know). It bugs me because too often it’s use as a general, feel-good term for activism that’s a bit nebulous and purposeless. I know it’s not always that way. Great people are doing great work to raise awareness of big issues—including human trafficking. But when someone says something about “raising awareness” I get frustrated if they don’t say how or toward what end—or worse, if they don’t even explain of what.

That’s why I love this article: Kavitha Sreeharsha and Kelly Heinrich of the Global Freedom Center write that simple awareness of human trafficking is good, but it isn’t enough. There must be action.

When there are approximately 27 million people enslaved in the world, we can hardly ignore such a pressing human rights issue and awareness is an important response. But even more troubling, only 42,000 of the 27 million enslaved were identified last year — less than one percent. Twelve years ago, the United States first enacted modern laws to address modern slavery, or human trafficking. Since then, awareness campaigns worldwide have brought attention to human trafficking. But to shrink the enormous gap between those enslaved and those who have been identified, it’s now time to transform that awareness into action.

Read more of their thoughts in the article at Huffington Post, then take action using some of the ideas they share at the Global Freedom Center:

As a concerned citizen: There are a number of things that you can do as a concerned citizen to help stop human trafficking and slavery in your neighborhood, community, and the world:

  • Make sure what you have learned here doesn’t stop with you. Pass it on to someone else through Facebook and Twitter, or do it the old-fashioned way by just talking with a friend, neighbor or colleague who will share your concern.
  • Know the signs of trafficking and be ready to report it.
  • Learn more about what types of trafficking occurs in your country and city, and how the government and NGOs respond to it.
  • Start asking questions – What does your child’s school teach about modern slavery? Are local police trained on how to detect and respond to trafficking? Does your employer have a supply chain free of forced labor? How can you determine whether a job offer and company are legitimate?
  • Invest in and support socially responsible companies.
  • Let elected officials and corporate leaders know that you want them to address this issue.

Find out more about human trafficking.
Shop ethical fashion made by survivors.
Be a part of the solution: Be part of Stop Traffick Fashion.


Emily founded Stop Traffick Fashion in 2009. She’d been becoming more and more involved in the abolitionist movement, and she decided to start STF as an opportunity to bring together the best of all products made by survivors of trafficking. She hopes her response to trafficking will inspire others to take action, even in a small way. Emily lives in Bend, Oregon, enjoys traveling, and has visited Hagar International and StopStart in Cambodia.

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