Five years ago we listened, we learned and we decided we would do all we could to join in the efforts to put a stop to the trafficking of human beings. At the time people were so eager to hear us share all we knew from the research we were gathering from friends near and far. We accepted many invitations to speak in local coffee shops, listen in on a UN gathering, share with university students in Latvia of deceptive, false job opportunities that would lead them to underground brothels, held conversations with gas attendants who had no idea that humans were being bought and sold right around them, and so much more.
Opportunities of every kind flooded us. From being involved with Oregon’s Human Trafficking Task Force, to having a rally pushing for a law to make trafficking illegal here in Oregon, and everything in between! We raised awareness, sold t-shirts and sent funds to projects we helped create such as Hope Homes in Russia. Hope Homes are apartments that help transition the orphan girls from orphanage life to everyday society. 80% of the orphan girls in Russia are sold straight from the orphanage into the sex industry.
The last three years have been a wild ride to say the least. Today I look at the latest statistics and the numbers have all increased. What was a 39 billion dollar industry today is a 45 billion dollar industry. 2.5 million men, women, children, and babies are being deceived, tricked or forced into slavery within 127 countries. I believe that some amount of the increase seen in these stats are due to more awareness and the truth coming to the surface, bringing to light the reality of how huge this problem really is.
Now we reevaluate. What have we done to help, what has worked, what more can we do? We have seen great accomplishments in the last three years, but need to see more in the years to come.
My personal conflict is seeing so many people, websites, organizations trying to raise funds to do something. I am encouraged to see so many people come on board to be abolitionist against trafficking. I understand money is always needed, but what is it being used for? Is it really freeing people, really preventing and saving people? Is it being used to restore and heal the wounded and sick? So little is talked about regarding what the funds are used for to stop trafficking. Therefor I have decided to spend some good amount of time looking, searching and finding people/organizations who are rescuing, preventing and healing trafficked victims. I want to find those who think they are doing little because they have little and give them what they need to do lots! I know they are out there. I want to continue to use my talents to create and sell my products in order to send funds or teach women to create, and provide for themselves. I want to take on an opportunity to work alongside the fashion industry which could provide safe, healthy work for many people who would otherwise be forced into the sex industry.
I want to do the little that I can do, because in the end if everyone does a little is can equal a whole lot! I hope when my two year old son reaches ten years of age, human trafficking will be abolished for good. The term would be long forgotten and this world will be a better place. If everyone does a little, a lot will happen!