Before Abraham Lincoln was president, he argued his stand against slavery.
“We have in this nation on the element of domestic slavery,” Lincoln stated. “The Republican Party think it wrong—we think it is a moral, a social, and a political wrong.”
Lincoln was right and although he did help reduce some slavery, slavery still exists today.
Human trafficking is our modern-day slavery. It generates over $32 billion annually worldwide. According to the US Department of state, about 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked into the United States for forced labor and/or commercial sexual exploitation.
The victims are recruited by being persuaded through promises of a better life, and then transported to where they live out a living hell of constant abuse, both physically and mentally.
The Polaris website states the reason for this trafficking victimization is due to the market-driven demand. Human trafficking is fueled by the demand for cheap labor or services, or for commercial sex acts (“Why trafficking exists”). Without a demand, there would be no need for a supply. Therefore, the perpetrators are not only those who coerce these men, women and children into trafficking, but also those who demand it.
When consumers are buying goods and services from industries that exploit workers, they are contributing to our modern day slavery. It may even come as a shock that many of us contribute to this human exploitation on a regular basis without us even knowing: it also should bring about extreme disgust and the desire to make a change.
Since the exploitation is purposefully a hidden crime, it is easy to accept the common thinking that the exploitation is irrelevant and distant from our own lives. However, it’s more relevant than one may think. Visiting www.slaveryfootprint.org is a great way to help people see how much of a demand on exploitation they are creating. The website calculating foods people eat, items they own, products they use, and much more to determine how much of a negative contribution individuals could potentially have on the human exploitation industry. It is definitely a way to help us see just how many different items, services, and foods that we consume add to the slavery demand and execution.
Of course, there is hope. The hope for these abused individuals lies within you, the reader of this article. Now that you are aware of this issue, you have increased responsibility. You are responsible to take steps within your own life to reduce the demand for human exploitation. These steps may be steps within your own consumption habits, or by sharing this information with others and bringing awareness to this horrendous crime. It does not matter what you do, as long as you do something.
If you, as a single individual, do only one thing to help stop the exploitation of others, it reduces the demand that much more. If people continue to make small changes, the demand will only decline. By reducing the demand, the supply will reduce, helping to stop the exploitation of other individuals. As we continue to become more aware of the extent of this modern day slavery, we need to stand by Lincoln’s words and put an end to this injustice.
The blog post you just read was written by myself, Sierra. Hello! I am the new blog intern for I’m Aware. The next four months I will focus many of my blog entries on organizations or events that are making a positive impact in combating human exploitation.
My wish is to inform, inspire and activate others to start taking a stand against exploitation. I hope you continue to read, enjoy and share my posts.
Remember: Individually we can make a difference; together we can make a world of change.