In TCW's September 2012 issue, the cover story features Katariina Rosenblaat, a sex trafficking victim who was rescued and now runs her own organization to help raise awareness and rescue and restore girls trapped in the trafficking industry nationwide ("There Is H.O.P.E. for Me"). Her story both shocked and amazed me—I knew sex trafficking was a problem, but everything changed when I was able to put a face to the issue. I wanted to know how I could help others like Katariina, and the article provided me with several resources to do so.
When I arrived at the 2013 Passion Conference in the Georgia Dome in January 2013, Katariina's story was repeated several hundreds time over from global human trafficking organizations and representatives gathered to motivate the 60,000 college-aged attendees to take a stand to end human trafficking worldwide. International Justice Mission president Gary Haughen, Wellspring Living founder Mary Frances Bowley, and Slavery Footprint founder Justin Dillon were among guests featured as speakers at the conference. They each motivated the crowd to get involved in the fight against human trafficking by becoming educated and donating time, money, and prayer to the fight, and their captivating stories and zeal for rescuing modern-day slaves was contagious.
Here are several ways you can help fight human trafficking in communities at home and abroad:
1) Get educated.
Mary Frances Bowley, author and founder of Atlanta-based human trafficking rescue and restoration organization Wellspring Living, recently wrote a book called The White Umbrella: Walking With Survivors of Sex Trafficking. The book is an account of her work with hundreds of sex trafficking victims in Atlanta since 2001 when Wellspring was first founded, and gives a face to the issue of trafficking in the U. S. Bowley was part of a round-table discussion at Passion 2013, and informed us that even though we may feel like ordinary people, we can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of those suffering simply by donating compassion and awareness to the cause of human trafficking by donating time and resources to organizations already functioning in our local communities.
Learning in community is helpful as well. Introduce your book club, Sunday school, or other gathering to a book or movie on trafficking. Suggested books include Bowley's The White Umbrella; Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn; Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery, edited by Jesse Sage and Liora Kasten, and The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade, by Victor Malerek.