Once we learn that slavery still exists, our next question inevitably is “What can I do about it”? Here are some simple yet effective ways to get involved.
Fight Slavery With Your Purchasing Power
With slave labour in the supply chain of many things we buy, the best response is to put our hard earned money toward items that are produced ethically. As far as industries are concerned, nothing speaks as loud as consumer demand. Studies conclude that “any change that will result in environmental and social benefits in [an] industry will be driven by consumers.”
Some common products that are often harvested with forced labour or child labour are coffee, chocolate (cocoa beans), tea, sugar, cotton, bananas, avocados, pineapple, and flowers. Fair trade certification is a reliable way to choose slave-free goods. Fairtrade Canada offers an extensive guide to fair trade brands. Visit Fairtrade International to find information for your area.
There are many excellent organizations around the world working hard to end slavery, bringing change, and making a tangible difference. Their efforts take money to continue. Rehabilitating those who have been exploited and working to put away offenders takes resources. One way we can join the cause is to support them financially.
∗ The Exodus Road has created a unique way to connect supporters with those on the ground through their Search and Rescue program. “By joining the Search & Rescue program, you will actually be joining a real-life investigative team in the field. You become the Basecamp that sends trained investigators to the front lines.” You will receive a welcome packet and email updates with stories and photos. (I am part of Delta Team.)
∗ Scrap Cars not Kids has its home base in Abbotsford, BC and raises funds in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Lower Mainland through picking up and receiving donations of old cars and other household and industrial metal. Donated cars are either scrapped or sold, depending on their condition. Either way, the money they raise goes to organizations fighting child exploitation locally and globally.
∗ Besides giving your own money, you can use your influence to raise awareness as well as inspire others to give. Ride for Refuge is something I have participated in personally. It is a family-friendly cycling and walking fundraiser that helps charities raise money for displaced, vulnerable and exploited people around the world. Basically, you raise pledges for the charity of your choosing, and on ride day you join with hundreds of others to ride your bike or walk. (You have a choice of 3 different distances.)
∗ We’ve all heard of Movember, but what follows is Dressember. In the month of December, you can raise awareness and funds to help end slavery by committing to wearing a dress every day. Dressember.org provides the platform for you to create a fundraising page. Just set a goal with a team or on your own and wear a dress every day.
Use Your Voice to Fight Slavery
Never underestimate the power of your voice. Throughout history, monumental change has happened because of people who used their voice and kept on using their voice.
∗ Begin by sharing what you’ve learned about modern-day slavery with others. Tell friends and family why your buying habits have changed. Share interesting points from a documentary you’ve seen. Be sure to communicate in a way that shares hope along with the problem, and avoid trying to guilt others into change.
∗ Another way to use your voice is to add it the voices of others by signing a petition. Polaris Project has a number of petitions going to lobby for better laws in regards to protecting victims of human trafficking. In Canada, find ways to advocate at defenddignity.ca. Visit enditmovement.com for more ways to join your voice with others’.
∗ Talk to your church or community group about becoming fairtrade. Fairtrade.ca has programs to help groups do just that. Schools, workplaces, and faith groups can become fairtrade groups. The university in my hometown is a certified fairtrade campus. If your group is too small to take that on, consider switching to serving fairtrade coffee and tea at your events. You can include a small sign or pamphlet to let people know you’re now serving fairtrade items, as an added way to raise awareness.
∗ Most importantly, use your voice to pray. This is how the most powerful change happens. Pray for victims, as well as perpetrators. Pray for governments and organizations as they work to end slavery. A21 has a prayer guide which offers additional prayer points. International Justice Mission also provides prayer resources. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”– Romans 12:12
Feel free to share this infographic and encourage others to get involved too. What other ways have you found to get involved? Share your experiences in the comments below. Let’s keep walking the paths of justice together.