When it comes to combating an issue, the first step is raising awareness to let other people know about the issue. Once awareness is raised, people will be impelled to take action, in order to arrive at a goal. In combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery, we raise awareness in hopes that people will take action to ultimately eliminate it from society.
But what exactly does “raising awareness” mean? A non-profit group called Love146 offers six things you should know when raising awareness about human trafficking. These ideas will be posted one at a time this week, and we’ll start with the first:
1. Awareness is more than just numbers.
In 2014, the Global Slavery Index estimated that there are 35.8 million people enslaved in the world today. And in 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there were 20.9 million enslaved. In 2009, sociologist Kevin Bales estimated that there were 27 million enslaved. Trafficking is an illegal, underground issue. Therefore, no one knows the exact number of affected people.
Just shouting numbers from rooftops won’t actually equip you or anyone else to know trafficking when it’s staring you in the face. Awareness has to go beyond numbers, to knowing what the people these numbers represent look like in our midst.
We know that the problem is real, and that behind every disputable estimate is a real person who cannot be dismissed. More effective than sharing the “stats” is sharing the real stories of those affected. (The supplied link tells the story behind Love146’s name.)
(Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care, prevention education, professional training and empowering movement.)