Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Human Trafficking: YOU can get involved and help! (guest post by Kim Purcell)

Kim Purcell is the author of Trafficked, a novel about human trafficking.  She also wrote THE MOST VIEWED post on this blog: Fear in Writing, Fear in Life. She is joining us again today to talk more about trafficking and how YOU can get involved and help put an end to this horrible act, which is often called modern day slavery.

It seems no matter where people are trafficked, they have one thing in common: the traffickers are feeding on their vulnerabilities. Maybe you have family issues or boyfriend issues. Maybe your confidence isn’t great. The traffickers spot this. They compliment you, take you out for dinner, buy you things, coerce you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do, make you feel wonderful and then make you feel horrible. They feed on your needs, they make you dependent on them, and then, once they’ve worn down your confidence, they exploit you.

In America, 100 000 American kids and teens are trafficked every year. That’s a pretty huge number. This means they’re being exploited, used for their labor and their bodies, and they aren’t getting paid.

Most people agree that human trafficking is a terrible problem and an issue we need to solve in our society today. But how? For a lot of these big issues, it’s normal to wonder what kind of an impact one person can have, especially if you’re a young person with fewer resources.

But I think kids, teens and college students can make a bigger impact today than they ever could in the past. Any student who wants to activate change can do so now through social media and blogging. Nobody knows how old you are, just that you have something interesting to say. I think all young people should have blogs and twitter accounts to share the things they are passionate about. As a side benefit, this can lead to a career.

Here are some small things any person can do to make a difference. Choose one and do it today and then tweet, Facebook or email me to let me know how it went.

1. Volunteer

Almost all big cities have anti-trafficking organizations, so you can look online to see who is in your city. Some of the ones I recommend are … Love 146, Gem Girls, Stop Child Trafficking Now, ECPAT, Restore NYC, Not For Sale, Free the Slaves, Cast LA, La Strada International, Somaly Mam. Safe Horizon, Polaris Project, Stella’s Voice. The Salvation Army.


This is a screenshot of Love 146’s webpage. Visit for more info.
2. Write your senator or representative in Congress.

Tell him or her that you want strict laws to punish traffickers and funds to support victims of trafficking. Go here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


3. Spread the word.

Maybe you don’t want to start a Twitter account or blog dedicated to the subject, but you can let your friends know about the issue on Facebook. You can pass along my novel to your friends. The organization Love 146 has used Trafficked as a tool of awareness and I think it’s a way people can connect on an emotional level with how trafficking happens. 


There are a lot of videos on YouTube that address this issue that you can share, just search the term Human Trafficking.  Please note, many of them are NSFW (or school). 

Love 146: An Overview

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDrCMWT4Khc]


4. Avoid buying slave labor goods.


This includes everything from electronics to clothing to coffee to chocolate. How can you avoid these goods? Shop for fair trade items. Also, shop for things made in the US, or another developed country. It might cost a bit more, but the quality is usually better too. Better to buy fewer things than to know you might be wearing something made by slave labor. 


5. Donate or start a fund-raiser at your school.

Even if you donate five dollars, it can help. I visited a school in Washington, DC, where students are doing regular bake sales. I went to another school in Park City, UT, where students printed up anti-slavery t-shirts and sold those. Every little bit helps. This is why I’m donating 20 percent of everything I make from Trafficked to anti-trafficking organizations. 


Everyday kids and teens are taking a stand about issues they care about and deciding to Do Something.  Visit Do Something.org to learn how you can be a force for good in the world.

We need to help the victims of trafficking and we need to stop this crime from happening in the first place. There are so many innovative things you can do to help end human trafficking. If you decide to turn your compassion into action, let me know what you end up doing. I love hearing these stories. And it doesn’t have to be big…Even a five-minute tweet can change the world, if it’s retweeted enough times.   

GIVEAWAY: Author Kim Purcell is giving away a signed copy of Trafficked. Please leave a comment between now and March 23rd to be entered to win.  We’ll need either an e-mail or a Twitter follow back to get in touch with the winner. Open to residents of the United States.

Comments

  1. Great post! I love how you integrate these issue posts alongside book reviews and programs — it's one of the reasons I love your blog!

  2. I love how you suggest your readers get involved!!!

    RJ

  3. I hadn't heard of this book before. Trafficked sounds like a good book to use in my literacy program. cultivatingyou@gmail.com

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