Help End Modern Day Slavery: What Families Can Do-Let’s Get Started

Help End Modern Day Slavery What Families Can Do

“Did you hear about that girl that was rescued in the parking lot in Plano that was being kidnapped into a human trafficking ring?” my husband, sitting next to me, mentioned as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed.

“WHAT! Can you repeat that?” I responded. He was watching the evening news.

“Yeah, a 12 year old started screaming as a man was forcing her into his car and someone called 911 to help her.”

My stomach sank. It was true. Modern day slavery was closer than I had ever imaged. I had read that human trafficking was nearer than we could believe, but just minutes away from my home?

Relieved that this little girl, I started to feel overwhelmed by the numbers of others that were not rescued and currently living the horrors of being enslaved.

Help End Modern Day Slavery What Families Can Do

Slavery is going on NOW in MY community.

And it is going on in your community, too.

Kids, girls, boys, women, men. No population is safe from becoming a victim.

Reading a random blog post several years ago, I came across the phrase “modern day slavery.” Disbelief and shame were the first feelings I experienced as I read about it. My thoughts were rapid and skeptical. I researched more because, surely, that article was wrong. As I found credible sources and read further articles about modern day slavery, I was stunned, “How is that possible? In my community, REALLY?”

What is it? Modern day slavery is the real, current day act of people using others as slaves. Mistreating them and trapping them in a situation where they are powerless to help themselves.

Yes, slaves. Right now. People are being misused for another’s gain in a very big and cruel way. Stats report that 27 million people are trapped, enslaved, today in situations where they cannot rescue themselves. Many experts have repeatedly said that there are more slaves now than at any other time in human history.

WHAT? Really?

Yes, really.

Other words related to modern day slavery that you may have heard:

  • human trafficking
  • indentured servitude
  • bonded labor
  • child labor
  • sex trafficking

In case you think it is someone else’s problem, then go open an internet browser and search for “human trafficking {insert your country, state, province, or city}”.  It is everywhere and you will find examples and stories of it in the metroplex closest to you, if not in your very own community. It is so widespread that: Even school districts are creating plans to help protect students from being trafficked.

Here is a story of modern day slavery as told by photographer Lisa Kristine through a TED Talk:


 

It is here. It is there. It is Everywhere.

“But, why should I care?”

I don’t want to sound heartless, but that is an common response I get when I bring it up with others. For many people, it takes more motivation to be concerned than the fact that someone’s child is trafficked. People truly think that it is only someone else’s child that will be targeted. People think that it is only someone else’s relative that is thoughtlessly preying upon others. People think that their kids could never be the ones to grow up and be part of the consumers that proliferate modern day slavery.

All children, no matter how much money mom and dad make, can be victims. It is not solely a poor child’s problem.

That 12 year old that I mentioned earlier? She was from a middle income family. She had met her boyfriend online and was meeting him for the first time in real life. “Where were her parents?” you might ask. She had told them that another friend was giving her a ride home from a party. She isn’t a homeless child. She was a victim of a growing number of human traffickers who are crafty, know how to use social media to gain trust, and lure our kids into harmful situations.

It is time that as parents we got smarter and included our kids in the conversation.

I do not, I do not, repeat, I do not think that it is wise to say that kids can’t begin to understand the issues of human trafficking. I think that by hiding this social ill that we are 1. Part of the problem and 2. Creating the scary situation that our own kids will be targets of human traffickers.  Bold statements but 100% truthful.

One of the most common questions I get is:
How do I teach my family, especially my kids, about human trafficking?

There are two concerns that are in this question:

  1. How do I make this teachable for my kids without making it scary?
  2. How do I make it something we can do as a family to actually help, feel empowered to make a difference?

There is no “go to” resource that does this well, in my opinion. That is something we need to work on together and the reason I am publishing this series on the topic. To help with this, I am hosting this series that will be shared over the next few weeks.

Where Do You Start?
  • The best place to start this is with YOU, right here. Building your knowledge and awareness of what modern day slavery is, where it is happening, and then we can start discussing how to talk about it with our kids.
  • To start building your own knowledge, I recommend going to KID Abolitionist on Facebook and scrolling through the posts there. I have curated the best resources and articles that are out there. “Like” the page and see the most recent and meaningful posts on ending modern day slavery, particularly as we try to find resources for families and kids.

Kid Abolitionist

  • Want to learn about specifics related to types of slavery?
  • Ready to involve your family? What I can say, from experience, is that it is best to let your family, your kids, guide the depth of the conversation when starting to talk about human trafficking, particularly if you have younger kids. An upcoming post will provide specific resources and prompts.
  • One easy way to start with your family: Go check out Slavery Footprint to find out how many slaves currently work for your family.

From My Own Experience:

  • I started with my boys when they were 4 and 6 with a project for Free the Girls. We had a simple conversation about how kids are forced to work, without their families, without the chance to have school, books, swimming lessons . . . all those things that my boys, as kids in a free situation with a close support network have and take for granted.
  • I’ve participated with my boys in the #enditmovement. Putting a red X on our hands and talking about modern day slavery on End It Day (February 26th)

How do you talk about modern day slavery with your family? Please share!

Stay tuned for the upcoming posts in the series listed below!

Series on Ending Modern Day Slavery: What Families Can Do

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