Tomorrow, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you’ve been a long-time reader of my blog I’ve certainly rattled this cage many times–there are more slaves right now than at any other time in history–here in the United States as well as internationally. Children and adults, in the sex trade, garment workers, agriculture workers, housework, construction laborers…indentured servants, sexual slaves, entire families in debt bondage. Tomorrow is a day to talk about it (as is every day), to shine light on this shameful fact of our life. Presidential hopefuls are campaigning but will never mention this (at least one portion of the issue is too fraught with unpopular opinions about illegal immigration and cheap, next-to-free labor picking our food for our dinner tables). Sexual slavery clientele–the end user of that “product” if you will, is practically a codified part of Washington wink-wink-and-a-knowing-glance life in some good ol’ boy networks. (But please never think it is a regional problem–it is worldwide where kids are sold into prostitution on the streets, in brothels, and over the Internet).
ATEST (the Alliance To End Slavery and Trafficking) wants us to talk about it and keep talking about it. Give our business to those who defy the system of slavery (travel and tourism are some of the areas where this comes into play most)…look to The Code (by ECPAT–End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) to make travel decisions–these tourism businesses have signed a pledge to actively fight against modern-day slavery and trafficking of children.
You truly can make a difference with the way you spend and travel. So in addition to going on a volunteer vacation to change the world for the better with your involvement on a project, make sure that the sources and suppliers in your personal consumption chain make a difference as well.