Human trafficking exists. In recent years, the problem has gained a more prominent place in the spotlight, and hopefully this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of it. The United Nations estimates that 2.4 million people are currently being trafficked, most of them exploited into sexual slavery. About 17,500 of those people (by some estimates) are brought to the U.S. yearly.
While this is a global, complex problem, there are ways you can be involved in finding a solution. It can be as simple as using your travel as an opportunity to help someone else.
How do you do it? First…
1. Be Aware
Mary Nighy’s powerful video Choose to See (starring James D’Arcy) follows a traveler as he leaves his hotel and chooses not to notice three incidents of slavery, until he encounters one instance he can’t ignore.
Often we do choose not to see. We choose not to tell anyone when the room service boy has a barcode tattooed on his neck, just under his shirt collar. We choose to look away when our waitress is replaced by someone new, just because we asked her where she’s from. We choose to close our minds to passengers on our planes who won’t let their travel companions speak.
The first step is to make the difficult choice to see. Be alert. Be ready to notice. And when something seems odd, don’t talk yourself out of it right away.
It’s frightening and terrible to come face to face with someone being trafficked or enslaved. But before you can act, you have to acknowledge what might be happening.