As a part of guest-editing the Threads blog for the lead-up to EU Anti-Slavery Day, I gathered and quizzed some friends in the movement and, without further ado, here are the fruits of our discussion: 10 things that must be done in order to abolish modern-day slavery today. (We’re also about to get personal – please do stay with us until the end of this post!
1. RAISE AWARENESS: there are still people who do not know that slavery still happens today. Educating people on its existence and the signs to look out for/report is vital. Every contact is important, as everyone could come across a victim or be a victim themselves.
2. CHANGE ATTITUDES: we must communicate, when raising awareness, the pressing and personal aspect of slavery – it affects our communities, our families, our fellow global citizens. It is OUR problem.
3. TACKLE ROOT CAUSES: economic and emotional vulnerability cause people to be vulnerable to being trafficked. We must address poverty, lack of social connectedness, addiction issues.
4. TACKLE DEMAND: people should not be bought and sold. Without people wiling to buy, people wouldn’t be sold. There are people who are willing to buy sex without questioning the other person’s circumstances; people who are willing to exploit workers in their farms and factories, or in their private homes: we must address the demand side of human exploitation.
5. PROSECUTE PERPETRATORS: trafficking should not be easy. More prosecutions with strong and robust legislation around sentencing will act as a deterrent to would-be criminals.
6. WORK TOGETHER Part 1: cross-border agencies must be able to work together with ease. This joint-up approach is vital to ensuring the global problem of trafficking is stopped in its tracks.
7. WORK TOGETHER Part 2: NGO’s, statutory bodies and voluntary organisations must work together. Communication is key in creating successful policies and sending out united messages.
8. SOURCE ETHICALLY: tighter regulations should be enforced on large manufacturers to ensure they are using ethically sourced goods and materials.
9. BUY ETHICALLY: we must challenge our disposable consumerist attitudes. Let’s understand where our stuff comes from and protect those involved in making it.
10. CHANGE CULTURE: our commodified, over-sexualised culture needs to change. We need brave voices speaking out against it and creating a new culture that upholds human value.
You may have ideas about how to get involved in one of several of these points. That’s great! You may also, though, feel like that these are goals you aren’t sure how to get plugged into. I’d love to suggest four practical steps you can take today (and when better than Anti-Slavery Day?!)…
1. If you are the praying kind, pray – for the rescue of the 27 million people currently enslaved. Pray for those who are working to rescue them and bring their traffickers to justice. Pray for those who care for victims once they have been rescued. Pray for law-makers across the world – for wisdom and vision. Pray for unity across all borders and with all agencies.
2. Join – join a local community group. A21, IJM and Stop the Traffik all operate within communities in the UK. Track down one of these groups and roll up your sleeves. Localised campaigning is oh-so-important.
3. Talk – could you tell someone a story or statistic you have come across this week? Today is the perfect opportunity to spread the word about slavery.
4. Give – there is great work going on across the globe on the issue of slavery, but we need to support those carrying it out. Choose an anti-trafficking NGO to give to financially. It doesn’t have to be much – as they say, “every little helps”.