January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  
As our country celebrates the 150thanniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (seen Lincoln yet?), the sad reality is that slavery is alive and well today. Congress did not pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) in 2012. This is law is our country’s foundation for the fight against human trafficking locally and globally, and would have renewed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008. But don’t give up. Every phone call, email, and letter helps. The bill will be up again in front of our new Congress…so keep fighting.
In the meantime, here are six practical steps you can take:
1.   Today is National Call In Day To Stop Child Trafficking. Take ten minutes to call your officials by going here. World Vision helps you find your elected officials and provides an easy to follow script. Let’s overwhelm our new Congress with phone calls and let them know that this issue matters to us. 

2.   Pray. Pray that God would motivate our new Congress to pass the TVPRA bill and make ending slavery a priority. Pray for justice. Pray especially for the victims—the over 20 million women, men, and children who are victims of trafficking and slavery. No one should live in shame and suffering. Pray about how you can get involved. Last year, I began to ask God how a stay-at-home mom, busy with three children, could possibly fight against this size of an injustice. He gave me the opportunity to blog and serve as a Risk Coach for Women at Risk, International…and in my own corner of the world, in a very small way, I am now able to do what I love doing in order to help others. I know God will guide you too. 

3.   Write to your senators. Simply go hereYou can fill out the online form and International Justice Mission will do the rest.

4.  Preorder my friend Shayne Moore’s book Refuse to Do Nothing, Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern Day Slavery and learn how to become an abolitionist mama (or papa). Shayne has worked one-on-one with Bono on his One Campaign, and is passionate about empowering others to fight modern day slavery. 
5.   Consider doing your Valentine’s Day or birthday shopping in a way that fights trafficking or empowers those in need. The Today Show recently featured some gifts that give back for the holidays. Christmas is over, but you can still check out their list here .

Here are some other noteworthy sites: 

  • isanctuary features beautifully unique handcrafted items made by survivors of Human Trafficking both domestic and abroad. A purchase here gives dignity to those survivors. 
  • Women At Risk International, where you can purchase items made by female victims of trafficking and slavery, or host a party and get others involved. 
  • Giftsthatgive.com is a really cool site where 1 out of every $5 goes to any cause of your choice. 

And other sites for giving back in dignifying ways: 
  • Warby Parker. This site lets you order several glasses’ frames for free, try them on at home, and return them at no charge. If you purchase a pair, they will fill your prescription and give a pair of glasses to someone in need, globally. 
  • Out of Print Clothing. This site is my new favorite place to purchase gifts and personal items. It has literary-themed gifts, shirts, bags, notecards, and more for any book lover in your life. Each item features vintage (and very cool) book cover art. Most importantly, each purchase is matched with a book sent to an under-served community in Africa with Books For Africa.
  • MudLove carries the cutest personalized items from bracelets to handbags, and every $5 spent gives one African clean drinking water for A YEAR!

6. Share this post–through email, Facebook, twitter, and google plus. I am not trying to be self-promoting. But, we won’t stop slavery without a fight. The more people who are motivated to join the cause and set others free, the sooner we can see justice–the sooner we can see men, women, and children living shamelessly. 

And, if you are in the Chicago area tonight, CAASE (The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation) 
will be raising awareness by showing the documentary, Sex + Money, 
about the dangers of domestic minor sex trafficking in our own backyard. 
Overflow Coffee Bar, 1550 South State Street at 7pm. 
A $7 donation at the door goes to benefit CAASE and Traffic Free. 
Preregister here so they know how many people to expect. 
RSVP on their Facebook event page & invite your friends!

In the meantime, keep on living shamelessly!

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