Well, I’m fighting some kind of sickness, which is either bronchitis or total depression from last night’s Downton (I’ll spare any deets for those of you who haven’t seen it). But, I have zero energy to blog as we wrap up National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and so, I am very thankful for today’s guest blogger, Brooke Pawlak.
Brooke is 23-years old and passionate about setting women and children free from slavery. She is a senior Rehab Services major at Northern Illinois University and will graduate in May (yay!!)
When Brooke is not at school, she works as a nanny/babysitter for some pretty cool kids. Otherwise, you can probably find her watching re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls, and doing some DIY or craft projects.
“I recently saw Zero Dark Thirty. It was an intense movie to say the least, but the one thing I keep thinking about was Jessica Chastainâ€™s character, Maya. She was a smart, confident, independent woman in a male-dominated field. As I walked out of the theater I felt empowered! I wonâ€™t lie, it made me want to drop out of school, join the CIA, and sign up for a kickboxing class. I probably won’t do that…although, I am considering the kicking-boxing thing.
I am not a person who is going to go busting into buildings and rescue people out of slavery. BUT I do feel called to raise awareness to this very huge issue.
27 million. There are 27 MILLION slaves in the world today, more than any other time in history. I donâ€™t know about you but 27 million is an overwhelming number to think about. I want to help, but 27 MILLION? Like what? Where do I even start? Do I give money? Do I sign up for a week long mission trip to somewhere? What do I do?
For the past three years Iâ€™ve been able to attend the Passion Conference in Atlanta. Passion is four-day event for 18-25 year olds; worship is led by big name Christian artists and it features some of the most well-known speakers in the Christian community. For the past two years the conference has focused on fighting modern-day slavery. Before I heard about it at Passion, I had no idea of how big of a problem slavery is. When I got back this year I knew I needed to DO SOMETHING.
And I think Iâ€™ve figured out where to start…God has called me to spread awareness.
â€œLearn to do right; seek JUSTICE. Defend the oppressed.â€
Now that Iâ€™ve obviouslyconvinced you that YOU need to starting bringing awareness to human trafficking too, youâ€™re probably asking yourself, What sorts of things can I do to raise awareness? Well, my friend, thatâ€™s what I want to help you with.
- Start a Book Club: Pick up books about human trafficking, meet and discuss the book and the issue, and the ways that your group can help fight human trafficking in your area and in the country. (Polaris Project website has a list of some good books.)
- Plan Movie Night: Whether itâ€™s at your house or at a theater, movies are a great way to spread the word and educate others about human trafficking.
- Clothes for a Cause: There are several way to get the word out about your clothing drive. You can collect clothes from schools, community centers, and religious centers. Once youâ€™ve collected the clothes, you can donate to a local organization serving victims of human trafficking or donate to Polaris Project
- Buy Products Made by Survivors: Purchasing items made by survivors is just one concrete way that you can help in the reintegration process for survivors of human trafficking. Here are just a few good sites:
Now this next one I really feel passionate about and I think it is the easiest wayto spread awarenessâ€¦.
Publicize the Hotline: 1-888-373-7888. Raise public awareness about how to recognize and report potential trafficking case to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Hotline. The hotline is a 24-hour, 7 day a week, confidential, toll-free hotline. The hotline is used to report a potential case, get information or resources, request training or technical assistance, or receive referrals. Put the hotline number in your phone so you always have in on hand when you need it. Pass it along to five friends, and Consider making the hotline number your Facebook or Twitter Status for one week.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center also created a flyer with the hotline number and a short overview about human trafficking. They have a flyer in English, Spanish, and eight other languages. I personally think this is a great way to start raising awareness in your own community.
- So, print out a copy of the flyer RIGHT NOW before you forget! Next time youâ€™re out at a Starbucks or the grocery store, bring a few flyers with you and ask business owners if you could put it up in their window or on their bulletin boards. Iâ€™m sure youâ€™re thinking, I live in a safe community, putting up a flyer in my local Starbucks is not helping anyone. WRONG! Slavery has been reported in all 50 states and is in 161 countries around the world.
Now, Iâ€™m not getting paid to keep mentioning Polaris Project, I just feel it is a great place for all different resources, but it is just one of MANY groups and organizations that I really like and go to for information and resources.
The Passion conference I went to has started what is called the â€œEnd It Movement.â€
The partners of the End It Movement are:
‘The light SHINES in the darkness, and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it.’
God has called us to be a VOICE for those who don’t have one and a LIGHT for those who live in darkness. Don’t wait. Do Something today.”
In honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the blog’s One-Year Anniversary, don’t forget our Giveaway:
The Gifts-That-Give-Back-Gift-Pack includes:
1) Earrings from Women at Risk, International, made by Naam, who was rescued from a life of trafficking and now lives and works fairly in Thailand
2) Vintage book cover note-cards from outofprintclothing.com, an organization who donates books through Books for Africa
3) A “Shameless” Bracelet and an “Africa” bag from Mudlove.com, a prize worth three years of clean water for Africans living in underserved communities (tote bag not pictured, but it’s cute!)
You are automatically entered to win if you’re a fan of this blog or our facebook page.
You can receive extra entries for every “like”, new comment, facebook share, and/or tweet.