Modern-day abolotionist: What can I do today?

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”.  Margaret Mead

The more I learn about the local and international realities of modern-day slavery, the more I discover modern-day revolutionaries.  Ordinary people are using their careers, talents, and voices to creatively spread the word about Human Trafficking.  Regardless of age or status, you too can become an abolitionist in your realm of influence.As we are made aware of more agencies and individuals who are taking an active role to abolish modern-day slavery, we can join them in their efforts.  Below are just a handful of movements worthy of our attention.  As you read about these organizations or people, consider how you too can play an active role today.

Educating the masses

CNN has committed a year of airtime to spotlight modern-day slavery.  Their goal is to amplify the voice of victims, and share success stories of organizations and local groups who are making a difference in the abolitionist movement.

This project began in March 2011 and the newscasts are available to view on:

The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery – CNN.com Blogs.

Interfering with the import and export of victims

Flight attendants have the unique ability to identify victims of Human Trafficking in the midst of transport.  The Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) has collaborated with the anti-slavery group “Innocents at Risk” to bring airlines into the anti-slavery movement.  Flight attendants are trained to identify signs of victims who are being trafficked, and they call hotlines who immediately connect them with officials who recognize the urgency to investigate and arrest individuals.

Delta Airlines is the first U.S. airline to sign an International Anti-Slavery Code of Conduct.  You know what that means, right?  We need to do our part to support Delta Airlines!

Read about this incredible movement at:

2011 June 02 | Free the Slaves BLOG.

Fair-Trade Coffee Shop

A few months ago I enjoyed a cup of coffee with a friend.  Not only did I enjoy the conversation, but I enjoyed the energy and atmosphere of this contemporary cafe.  Located in a family community and just down the street from William Jessup University, this place was hopping!  The tables are filled with students playing cards, families playing games, and folks conversing as they drink their Fair-Trade coffees or teas.

I quickly learned this is no ordinary coffee shop.  Origins Coffee located in Rocklin, CA does not hire its employees.  Local citizens volunteer their time and work shifts in order for all income to go toward the anti-sex trafficking movement.  Although Origins Coffee is officially a not-for-profit business, they prefer to be referred to as a “for-benefit” business.  Beyond the usual overhead costs, all profit goes directly to those fighting the sex trade.

Origins is continuing the conversation about the sex-trafficking epidemic and providing ways for common folk to get involved.  As long as places like this exist in our communities, it becomes our privilege to actively purchase coffee beans, offer our time, and meet for conversation for the cause!  You can read more about this innovative way to be an abolitionist at:

Origin Coffee Tea / Home.

Reaching her circle of influence

In the Spring I had a conversation with an awesome woman.  She is a dynamic woman with a creative career.  She influences people with her design, her personality, and her diligent work ethic.  Recently she has been convicted about the leaders she rubs shoulders with on a regular basis and she began asking herself what her role should be in the positions God has placed her in.  When her eyes and heart were opened to the realities of Human Trafficking and Slavery she knew right away she needed to be a voice.

This woman bought great bags from Trade as One and gave them away as gifts.  These bags began the conversation.  One 14-year-old who received a bag bought more bags for her friends while explaining these products help provide work to individuals vulnerable to Human Trafficking..  (You can read more about these bags in my previous post: “Start the conversation: Modern-day slavery and Fair Trade shopping”)

This is where it begins for each of us.  Hopefully we are so unsettled by the realities of injustice that we can’t rest until we take action.  Become familiar with different organizations whose mission it is to abolish modern-day slavery.  Keep asking yourself, “What can I do today, in my realm of life and influence, to put an end to Human Trafficking?”

Leave a comment to let us know how you are beginning to take steps.  Are you already using your purchase-power or talents to abolish slavery?  Let everyone know so we can support you and join in the fight together!

For more posts about Human-Trafficking and becoming a modern-day abolitionist, see the category “Do Justice” on the right of the screen.

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Human Trafficking in our neighborhoods: Is your city on the Slavery Map?

In my neighborhood?  That’s a little too close for comfort!  But discomfort is a good thing if it drives us to action.  It  is time to put a face on Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking.  Until we recognize how prevalent it is, the facts remain only that, dry facts.  We are in danger of stuffing more knowledge in our heads and leaving the epidemic for someone else to deal with.

Are you willing to let the information sink into your heart?  I often need to ask my Lord, “What can I do to abolish slavery of human kind?”  Today I am inviting you to take a look at the Slavery Map created by the Not For Sale Campaign.  The Not for Sale Campaign was created by a passionate University of San Francisco professor, David Batstone.

The Slavery Map displays documented cases of Human Trafficking in the United States.  By viewing the map, I discovered only miles from my home, a sex trafficking ring involving the prostitution of children over a period of 5 years was uncovered.

I am curious what you will find.  As you click on your state, you will see flags that designate documented cases in cities.  Click on the city and you will read the details of what kind of slavery was discovered,where it occurred and what law enforcement agencies were able to do.

As your heart sinks into your gut and causes that sickening feeling, take a quiet moment to ask yourself, “What can I do?”  If there are not documented cases in your city, thank God for that!  But it doesn’t mean it is not occurring.  Often trafficking is happening all around us and it hasn’t yet been discovered.  Law enforcement is still learning how to detect it, and the common citizen can learn as well.  More on that later.

Tell your friends what you discover on http://www.slaverymap.org/

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The label conscious Abolitionist

Fair Trade labels on local grocery items

Be a Modern Day Abolitionist

Together, we are using our buying power to help abolish modern day slavery.  We are becoming  more familiar with the term Fair Trade, but some of you may not be sure how to identify those Fair Trade products.

These tools are an effective way to become a label conscious abolitionist.

Fair Trade Labels

Companies must reapply every year for Fair Trade certification.  They are required to list the suppliers who comply with Fair Trade standards, then these suppliers are scrutinized for their use of money and services.

Look for these specific labels which identify Fair Trade certified items:

  • Fair Trade Certified-shows product certification
  • Fair Trade Foundation-this is a FTF U.S. based company that bases certification on 9 principles
  • WFTO Producer Certification-this is a world Fair Trade organization
  • Fair Trade Labeling Organization-this organization certifies Fair Trade co-ops

Research the companies where you frequently purchase items

Companies are presently being graded for their integrity in the supply chain.  A company may receive an A through an F depending upon their commitment to producing products that are ultimately slave free.

Companies such as Levi’s, Nike and Old Navy have received an A or B rating.

Companies such as McCormick Spices, Hershey’s Company and Hanes Brand have each received a D rating.

In order to clearly understand these company ratings, check out this informative website:

Company Grade Explanation – Free2Work.

Smart App-tivism

If you have an Android or iPhone, you can download a free Smart App that will help you identify Fair Trade items on the spot.

Android and iPhone Smart App-tivism:

About Smart Phone App – Free2Work.

Please join the discussion and tell us what Fair Trade items you are purchasing. 

If you use the Smart-Apptivism download, I would enjoy hearing how it is working for you.

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Fair Trade and the Supply Chain: Be a Modern day Abolitionist

commercial soccer balls

Before the next seminar, “Fighting Slavery with the power of our Spending”, I checked out the Fair Trade market set up in the lobby.  I was soaking in as much as I could learn about the Bay area and Federal Government’s response to human trafficking while attending the Freedom Summit Conference.

There were so many great things to purchase in the market, but the soccer ball imprinted with “Do Justice”  was speaking to me.   I thought it would be cool for my boys to have a soccer ball with this great message on it when they are practicing with their team.

I stood in a long line waiting to pay for the ball.  I’m a bargain shopper, and I know soccer balls are always at the local sports store for a mere $20.  As I fluctuated in front of the cashier, I finally told him it costs too much for me to buy.  Politely he said, “I understand”.

Only a few minutes passed in the seminar when I began to sink in my chair as my ignorance was exposed.  Fair Trade is expensive I learned, because the items are not mass-produced.  Fair Trade items are being made by those in danger of slavery:  human trafficking.

Who is vulnerable to human trafficking?  Impoverished individuals who are so desperate to eat or provide for their family, they sell their children or themselves into slavery.

Often times, these individuals are tricked into slavery.  Someone promises them an education or a paycheck, and they are coerced into labor or sexual abuses.

Modern day slavery includes those individuals in the supply chain who are producing  the goods you and I purchase daily.  The bottom line is,  cheaper products can be traced down to slave labor.

Check out this informative video :

I learned when these vulnerable human beings are given Fair Trade jobs, it keeps them out of danger.  Valiant, vision-minded business people have created jobs specifically for this purpose.

When you and I purchase Free Trade products, we have the potential to create a demand on these goods.  Can you believe your purchase power has the power to put an end to modern day slavery?

I thought I needed to go to the streets and dark corners of our cities to help rescue a slave.  But I can go to my favorite stores and do my part in abolishing slavery by getting into the habit of buying Fair Trade items.

Fair Trade items are generally more expensive, but our family wallet can afford to take the hit since human life is worth more than any price tag.

Will you be a Modern Day Abolitionist?  Come back each Friday and learn how you can make a difference.

Next week:” How do I identify Fair Trade products?”



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