CAUSE OF THE MONTH: Human Trafficking & The Polaris Project
The days of what we think of as slavery in the United States may be behind us, but sadly, a form of modern-day slavery continues to exist, both in this country, and around the world. This month, we’re bringing attention to this very serious cause — human trafficking — and an organization that’s doing something about it — the Polaris Project.
So what exactly is “human trafficking” anyway? The Polaris Project defines it as “a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.”
Victims of human trafficking include everything from children involved in the sex trade to adults who are forced into labor of any kind. But no matter what it looks like, human trafficking shares these comment elements: force, fraud, or coercion used to control other people.
According to the Polaris Project, every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.
So just how serious is this problem? Check out these shocking statistics provided by the United Nations’ Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking:
- An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labor (including sexual exploitation) at any given time as a result of trafficking
- 10.8% of these people are living in developed countries like the United States
- The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age
- An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year
- 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking
- 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 98% are women and girls
- 32% of victims are used for forced economic exploitation, of whom 56% are women and girls
Want to make a difference? The Polaris Project could use your help. To get involved in the fight against human trafficking, here are some things you can do:
* Sign up for the Polaris Project Grassroots Network to get email updates about human trafficking and new opportunities for you to make a direct impact on the lives of human trafficking victims.
* Help spread the word that SLAVERY STILL EXISTS. Knowledge is a vital part of the fight against human trafficking.
* Write a letter to the editor of your paper. The “Letters to the Editor” section of almost every paper is the most read section of almost any newspaper, providing an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about human trafficking and even help pass legislation.
* Become an advocate by asking Congress to support four vital bills. Federal laws are crucial to establish clear, consistent measures against human trafficking in America. There are currently 4 bills in Congress that need your help to get made into law.
* Hold a fundraiser and give the proceeds to The Polaris Project to support them in doing their important work.
* Attend a Polaris Project event, like the Stop Modern Slavery Walk.