5 Things You Can Do to Fight Slavery During the Holiday Season

Believe it or not, here we are in the holiday season once again. We decided to make a little list of 5 ways you can take a stand against human trafficking this year.

1) Ethical Gift-giving. As you’re buying gifts for friends and family this year, be sure you know that your purchases support anti-trafficking. The latest cell phone is pretty slick, but did the tin, tungsten, and tantalum used in its production get mined by slaves in the Congo? Or what about that heartwarming cup of hot chocolate? It’s quite possible that it was heartbreaking for a child trafficked in the cocoa industry.

So what can you do about it? As you’re shopping for gifts, be sure that you’re looking for products which are certified fair-trade. It will usually have one of these logos:

Here are a few great websites to start with for fair-trade gifts:

Also, check out Made by Survivors. Not only is all their stuff fair-trade, it’s also (as you probably guessed) made by survivors of human trafficking, thus helping them reintegrate by giving them a marketable skill like sewing or jewelery-making.

2) Tell people about human trafficking. The holidays are a time to reconnect with friends and family, some of whom you may not have seen for a while. When they ask what you’ve been up to since last year, tell them that you’ve been getting involved with Southern Arizona Against Slavery. When they say “…What? Slavery?” then you have a perfect opportunity to educate them about the issue. Most Americans are still completely oblivious to this problem, so education does make a real difference. Here are three key facts you can share with them:

  • About 27 million people are in slavery today according to the best estimates available. This is more people in slavery than ever in human history.
  • There are two main categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Human trafficking (slavery) is not a synonym for human smuggling (illegal immigration).
  • Human trafficking is not just a problem in developing countries like India or Thailand. It also happens here in the US and in Arizona–both sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

3) Continue advocating for the TVPRA. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, or TVPRA, is still languishing in Congress. This critical legislation appropriates federal funding to nonprofit organizations around the world who are fighting human trafficking. It provides training to police in developing countries who want to do more to stop the sale of people. And it funds the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office, a crucial hub for federal anti-trafficking activities. The best part is that it’s a Black-Friday-quality deal: when it’s all said and done, all these programs combined represent about 0.002% of the federal budget! That’s less than the government spends on military bands.

4) Donate some money. It’s a quick and easy way to help the anti-trafficking cause. You can even get a tax deduction for it. Wouldn’t you rather give your money to anti-trafficking than to Uncle Sam?

If you want to give to the work of SAAS, the best way to do so right now is to designate a gift to the Abolition Conference (see #5). All private donations for the Abolition Conference are being processed through one of SAAS’ partner organizations, Streetlight Tucson, which is affiliated with the Crisis Pregnancy Center. That’s why the giving page will say Crisis Pregnancy Center on it. But if you just put “Abolition Conference” in the Note section of the page, any money you donate will go exclusively to putting on the conference. Click here to give.

5) Sign up for the Abolition Conference.

Tucson’s first-ever regional anti-trafficking conference will be on January 14, 2012 at the University of Arizona. The early-bird ticket price of $40 has been extended through Christmas! With nationally-renowned speakers like Bradley Myles (Polaris Project), Linda Smith (Shared Hope International), Kaign Christy (International Justice Mission), and many more, this is an event you will not want to miss. It’s a great stocking-stuffer too! Learn more and register for the event at abolitionconference.com.

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