In 2018, the Walk Free Foundation's Global Slavery Index estimated that more than 400,000 people in the United States were
living in modern slavery. In fact, the issue is so prevalent that in 2011, former President Barack Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month stating, "We must address the consequences of human trafficking and work to tackle its root causes." Back then and today, there are several organizations fighting human trafficking to achieve just that.
"In the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, the necessity for cross-sector collaboration and communities coming together to end human trafficking is crucial, whether by building awareness, strengthening child protection systems, supporting victims of trafficking, or advocating for anti-trafficking policies,"
Anucha Browne, chief engagement, advocacy, and global programs officer at UNICEF USA, tells Bustle. UNICEF and other anti-trafficking organizations have done this by providing resources for victims, encouraging prevention education, and hosting community events to raise awareness around the issue.
Still, most instances of trafficking go unreported, making it extremely difficult to tackle. According to the
National Human Trafficking Hotline, almost 11,000 cases were reported in the United States in 2018. While that number may seem high at first glance, it makes up just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of estimated human trafficking cases in the country. But that doesn't mean you can't help fill in the gap. If you're looking for a way to join the fight against human trafficking, here are seven organizations you can look into:
Global Alliance Against Trafficking In Women
The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) is comprised of more than 80 non-governmental organizations from around the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American and the Caribbean, and North America, according to the GAATW site. The Alliance looks at human trafficking in the context of migrant labour exploitation, and works to alleviate situations where slavery-like conditions and practices exist. By using research, advocacy, and communication, the GAATW raises awareness and pushes for legislation that combats human trafficking. You can get involved by volunteering or even applying for one of the Alliance's internships.
The Urban Justice Center's Sex Workers Project
The Sex Workers Project by the Urban Justice Center works to support sex workers and victims of human trafficking. The group does this mostly through legal advocacy and therapeutic support, according to its site. The Sex Workers Project's mission is to create a world that is safe for all workers and that doesn't include human trafficking. They mainly do this by providing policy makers with the necessary information about sex work to help them make informed decisions when it comes to legislation. To help support the work that the Sex Workers Project is doing, you can either make a one-time or monthly donation to the group. FAIR Girls is dedicated to providing care for trafficking victims who identify as women or girls through advocacy and intervention. The organization provides housing, trauma-informed services, and education that helps these women cope with their experiences. Plus, the organization works to help sex workers who have been trafficked either remove themselves from their situations, or continue sex work in a way that is safe for them. There are plenty of ways to get involved with FAIR Girls, including donating, volunteering, and even starting a career with the organization.
While UNICEF is known for its dedication to many causes, one of its missions is to
put a stop to all child trafficking. UNICEF works to combat the issue by helping adults attain a livable wage to encourage children to stay in school instead of providing for their families. The organization also lobbies for stronger child protection laws and supporting the training of professionals who either have to mentally support victims or identify them at borders. To help the cause, you can either donate to UNICEF or support one of their events centered around bringing awareness to the issue.
Freedom Network USA is America's largest coalition of individuals and groups working to provide victims of human trafficking with access to justice, safety, and opportunity, according to its site. In addition to providing legal services, the group has created a network of survivors for support. If you'd like to get involved with the organization, you can donate to help it train professionals. Love146 is an international anti-child trafficking organization (based in the United States) that focuses heavily on prevention and survivor care. The organization provides homes for victims of trafficking as well as training for individuals who help support them. They also coordinate prevention education in countries around the world and have made it their mission to contribute to trafficking research. To get involved with Love146, you can make a one-time or monthly donation.
Whether you can donate your money or your time to any of these organizations, you have the ability to help win the fight against human trafficking.
Experts: Anucha Browne, chief engagement, advocacy and global programs officer at UNICEF USA