In this blog post I want to talk about a topic I feel really passionate about…modern day slavery.
Woah! Now I imagine you may be thinking, “far out, that is a bit heavy for an opening sentence”! However this is something that I feel really moved and challenged by and I want to share a bit about the journey of discovery I have been on and how even small changes can make a huge impact on the lives of others.
Let me start by explaining what human trafficking is…
“Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking. As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe. Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern-day slavery. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will” A21 Ministries
What I find absolutely heartbreaking is that only 1-2 % of victims are ever rescued. The average age of a trafficking victim is only 12 years old!
When I read facts like, ‘every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern day slavery’, or, ‘there are more slaves in the world right now than any other point in history’, I am guilty of thinking, “wow that is really terrible!” and then a few minutes later putting it out of my mind and continuing with my day.
It can be very easy to live in a little bubble of thinking that these things happens around the world but for me it really hit home when I read about it happening in New Zealand too. It really hit home when I started to make it personal by thinking about what if this was my sister, my friends, my mum or even my daughter caught in slavery. It really hit home when I realised that there are things I can do and choices I can make every day that will make a difference.
It is very easy to look at this problem and feel overwhelmed by the scale of it. With 27 million people caught in slavery what little I can do surely won’t make a difference. But this isn’t true. Even small changes will make a difference.
I realise at the moment I can’t make millions of dollars to give away but I can give a little. I realise I won’t be able to stop forced labour but I can make choices about where I buy clothes from and finding out if they are ethically made. I realise that not every person in slavery is going to be rescued right now but I can do all I can to enable these incredible organisations to rescue even just one person and that one person’s life is certainly worth it.
This year I am participating in Dressember, a fun initiate where participants raise money for International Justice Mission (IJM) and A21 by wearing a dress or skirt everyday for the month of December. I am excited to be joining a team of friends who are going to work together to raise money by choosing to wear dresses for the month.
I do like wearing dresses but I’m not going to lie, wearing one everyday for a whole month is going to be a challenge! I love my jeans and shorts thats for sure! But the cause is so worth it. To start with I was thinking up all sorts of excuses as to why not to join in, such as, I really don’t own enough dresses or its not very practical to wear a dress when you work in a preschool. But I soon realised that being able to raise awareness and money for these organisations that are making such a difference is worth any inconvenience it may cause me.
I’ve heard of people who are participating in Dressember wearing the same dress everyday all month which I must say is pretty incredible! I won’t be doing that this year but I will be hunting out my limited supply of dresses and possible hitting up an op shop or two before December rolls around. To see images of all the crazy things people do in their dresses you can follow ‘Dressember’ on Instagram or check out the hashtag #youcandoanythinginadress or #dressember.
If you are interested in participating in Dressember you can do this too either as an individual or by creating a team like us by going here.
I love this quote by Barrack Obama which says, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time”. What we choose to do now will either positively or negatively impact the world we live in. I definitely want to be part of bringing some hope and positive change into the lives of others.
I hope that by reading this post you feel inspired or challenged to learn more about how we can stop human trafficking. It is my hope that you might look at how you personally can help. You may decide to join me in wearing a dress this December or even just share this article to raise more awareness of this topic. Whatever you actually do, I hope you will consider joining me in becoming the change that someone so desperately needs today.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.