Human trafficking, including sex trafficking, is recently gaining greater public recognition and media attention. If you’re looking for resources to learn more about trafficking, we’ve pulled together some of the sites we’d recommend for credible, useful information.
Here’s our list:
This list is just an introduction to the many resources available for learning about trafficking and ways to help. For even more ideas of ways you can get involved in anti-human trafficking efforts, the U.S. Department of State offers a great list of 20 ways you can get involved.
Also, be sure to check if your own state or community has coalitions or organizations working to address trafficking in your area. Three listings of these organizations can be found through Humantrafficking.org, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Wikipedia.
Have you ever heard of social problems--like human trafficking--and wanted to take action, but you didn't know where to begin? If so, we hope you'll be inspired by our Q & A today with Angela Moran, who is one of the founders of Change Purse. Through Change Purse, Angela and her colleagues collect donated purses, sell them, and use the profits to benefit organizations that are working to support survivors of sex trafficking. We were inspired when we heard her story, and we invited her to share some reflections with our See the Triumph community. Her story is an amazing example of how everyone can take action to help provide support to survivors of abuse!
Q: What is Change Purse?
Angela Moran: Change Purse encourages hope through raising awareness and by investing into the lives of victims and survivors of sex-trafficking. We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that collects donated purses and resells them and uses the profits to fulfill our mission statement. We do not have any employees so 100% of the funds raised go towards the ministry of Change Purse.
Q: How did you first get the idea to create Change Purse?
Angela Moran: I heard about sex-trafficking in October of 2006 and knew I needed to do something about it. Being a stay at home mom, I had every excuse in the world to not do something but God was calling my heart to action. The only thing I could think that I had to offer was my love of Jesus and my love of purses so I prayed a wild and crazy prayer that went something like this "Jesus, I love you and I love purses and so if I could use my love of you and my love of purses to change the world, that would be awesome." The ideas just came flooding in after that. I called my best friend and told her I was thinking about selling my purses to fight sex-trafficking. We never expected this to take off like it did, but it has just been amazing! People want to help and Change Purse is just an easy way to do that.
Q: Why purses?
Angela Moran: I have always had a love of purses. I collected them for every occasion and always found myself looking for that "perfect" next purse. I realize now that it was God stirring this in me -- and when you surrender even your "weakness", He makes it perfect!
Q: Why should people care about sex trafficking?
Angela Moran: Because it's somebody's daughter... sister... what if it were your family member? It's so easy for us to think of Sex-Trafficking as a faceless crime, but people who are being sold for sex did not choose this. There are no young girls who want to grow up and sell themselves for sex. It's a crime against vulnerability and we have a responsibility to care for those involved. This includes the men. The saddest part for me is not that women are selling themselves for sex, but rather that people are buying sex. People are not for sale. Sex is not for sale. Sex was created by God to be an intimate union between a husband and wife. It has been distorted by our society and we have lost sight of it's original plan!
Q: How is sex trafficking related to intimate partner violence/domestic violence?
Angela Moran: Sex used to leverage power is the basis of sex-trafficking. The PIMPS sell the victims because they have convinced them that they are owned. The men or women (yes both do it) who purchase sex of the victims (both girls, boys, men and women - no one is excluded) do this to exert power over the victims. Victims of intimate partner / domestic violence are often forced to have sex with their abusive partner despite how they feel, or sex is used to be a "peace making" act in hopes that the victim will forget the abuse. Regardless, it's about power and control. Sex is not about power or control. Sex is a consensual loving act between a husband and wife who want to give themselves fully to the other person out of love and adoration, not fear, control or shame.
Q: How can people get involved in the work that Change Purse is doing?
Angela Moran: There are many ways. Set up a collection site at your church, local business or agency. Once the box is full, sort the purses for the new/like new ones and mail them to us! You can also request a Freedom Kit that will walk you through how you can host your own event. After collecting the purses, you set up a time/place for people to come shop (such as a Women's breakfast, a group of friends, or a monthly event at your social organization). Before the event, you clean out the purses, put price tags on them (which we provide!) and then sell the purses. Send us the money you raise! It's a simple, practical strategy anyone can do to help fight sex-trafficking.
Q: Your full-time job is being a stay-at-home mom. What unique insights does that role offer you in your work to address sex trafficking?
Angela Moran: My #1 job is to raise my boys to know 3 things. 1. They are a child of God and He has a great plan for their lives. 2. They are not for sale, from anyone. No one should offer them money, goods, or services with an expectation that they will do something for them. This is not ok. 3. Women, and their bodies, are to be held in high esteem, respected, loved and cherished. They are not for sale. I always hope that being a stay-at-home Mom doesn't make me less credible, but simply more personable. I'm in this fight with everyone else. I want my children to be safe and for everyone else in my sphere of influcence to be safe too. We encourage people to take a NIMBY stance... Not In My Back Yard. Tell everyone you come in contact with about sex-trafficking. Let them know they are valuable (because if you don't tell them, someone else will... and more than likely their motives are not pure). And tell them they are not for sale. Make sure NO ONE that you know is a victim or buyer of sex-trafficking. We outnumber the bad guys -- together we can make a difference!
Note: You can learn more about the work that Angela is doing through Change Purse in this news story: http://myfox8.com/2012/01/12/inspired-living-change-purse/.
By Allison Crowe, Co-Founder of See the Triumph
This month, See the Triumph is focusing on human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined as the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with an ultimate aim of exploitation. Sex is just one aspect of trafficking, and forced labor, slavery, and servitude are other forms of this disturbing and growing activity. One startling fact is that human trafficking brings in an estimated $32 billion a year and is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world; illegal drugs is the largest (http://nightlightinternational.com/resources/facts-about-trafficking/). Unfortunately, human trafficking occurs most frequently with women and children. Young women are often lured by perpetrators with the promise of a modeling, acting, or nanny position.
Not In My Backyard: One of the common attitudes out there about human trafficking is that it is a problem only outside of the United States. Many Americans view the issue as happening in places like Thailand, Russia, Asia, or Singapore - certainly not in our own backyards. The truth is human trafficking is happening everywhere. In our own communities - big cities, small towns, east, west, north, and south. Human trafficking is very common in the United States. In an article from Psychology by Dr. Wendy Patrick, the following statistics go to show just how big of a problem it is in our own backyards:
Today I urge all of you to consider what you can do in your own communities to raise awareness and fight against human trafficking. Here are a few resources where you can find information and support.
Let’s take some time in June to focus on this issue. Unfortunately, it is happening in our own communities, so it’s up to us to educate ourselves and each other about human trafficking and ways to end it, one backyard at a time.
Take our Causes pledge to send the message: "Human Trafficking? Not in MY Backyard!" at the following link:
A couple months ago, we heard from a group of local high school students in Greensboro, NC, who were interested in developing an on-line resource on human trafficking, and we were honored to partner with them. This highly motivated group of young people developed the video above for See the Triumph as part of our month-long focus on ending the stigma surrounding human trafficking. Please take a look, share it with others, and be inspired by the energy and passion that this group of young people showed through their work!
Special thanks go out to the production team that created this video: Dylan Erikson, Aidan Maycock, Sunwoo Yim, Stefano Romano, Ori Soker, Zachary Patel, Nathan Miller, Thomas Lawe, Junmo Ryang, Jeyla Savage and Pratham Chhabria!
Here's a brief bio of the students involved in developing the video:
"We are rising juniors at the Early College at Guilford in Greensboro, NC and originally began work on this video as a part of a project for our AP Environmental Science class taught by Mrs. Katheryn Cooper. We chose to address human trafficking because we felt that it was a social justice issue we personally knew little about, and yet it affects millions of teens and young adults each year. As a group, we hoped that by raising awareness about this often overlooked form of violence, we could make a difference. Via the use of modern media, we aimed to create an electronic product that would spread awareness to an audience beyond our school and local community. Through this experience, we became aware of the complexity and magnitude of human trafficking both locally and globally. We are now are better equipped to be a part of the solution and are committed to help end the stigma surrounding victims of human trafficking--many of whom are teenagers like ourselves."
By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
This June, we’re turning our attention to human trafficking, and especially sex trafficking. Increasingly, professionals and the general population are recognizing trafficking as a major category of interpersonal violence. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
More specifically, human sex trafficking involves trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, including forced prostitution and other commercial sex acts (See The Advocates for Human Rights and The Polaris Project for more information).
Our focus at See the Triumph is typically on intimate partner violence in general, based on our research with survivors. However, this month we wanted to address trafficking for three main reasons.
First, there are many links between intimate partner violence and trafficking. For example, trafficking victims may be lured into trafficking situations through the guise of an intimate relationship with their abusers. Also, as power and control dynamics underlie intimate partner violence, so too are trafficking perpetrators masters at maintaining control over their victims’ lives and decisions.
Second, domestic violence agencies and other community resources are increasingly called upon to serve the needs of trafficking victims and survivors. They may be asked to provide such services as shelter and victim advocacy for survivors in their local communities.
Third, there is a significant stigma that survivors of trafficking face, and we believe the lessons we’ve learned about the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence can shed light on the stigma surrounding trafficking.
What does stigma look like, as it applies to trafficking?
In our research, we conceptualize stigma as having the following major components:
At See the Triumph, we’re passionate about ending the stigma that only compounds the challenges associated with abuse victimization. Those who survive any form of abuse deserve our support and admiration. We hope you’ll join us this month in learning about how we can work together to end the stigma surrounding trafficking as part of our efforts to end the stigma surrounding abuse.
As Ndioro Ndiaye, Deputy Director General for the International Organization for Migration, said, “By breaking down the stigma and by empowering trafficked women to step forward and speak of their experiences, global efforts to counter human trafficking, particularly of women and girls for sexual exploitation, will be much more successful. But this can only be done by tackling ignorance and prejudice among the public at large as to why women fall prey to traffickers.”