What can I do to make a difference to combat slavery?

There are many interesting initiatives combating human trafficking and slavery around the world. Today I spoke to a group of young professionals on Human Trafficking around the world and had a discussion specifically on human trafficking in China. It was really great to engage on how we can all make a difference.

In my view, the difficult task is discovering how we are wired personally and what talents we have so that we can use them to make a difference.

Which is why I like this Slavery Map even though it is still at its early stages- http://www.slaverymap.org/(make sure to zoom out of the US map and scroll to see the rest of the world). It has so much potential as an advocacy tool but clearly required technical skills that a person like me would not have.  The idea is “SlaveryMap exists to record and display instances of human trafficking across the globe. Whether you find them hidden in your hometown or covered in The New York Times, report the incidents onto this map for people everywhere to see.”

What I like about this tool is how it immediately makes it clear that trafficking is not an issue just limited to Asia or Eastern Europe. According to the US State Department, there are approximately 15,000 cases of people being trafficked into the US. The biggest shock of my life some time back was to discover that Malaysia is not traffick-free. For example, the CNN Freedom Project has done a great job in showcasing how human trafficking is a very real problem for many countries around the world. The recent video by Dan Rivers on  Tracking Factory Slaves Across Asia and the latest sting operation in malaysia reminded me of how human trafficking has reached Malaysia.

I am not sure who came up with the idea of the slavery map, but it definitely required technical skills that I would not have. There is something each of us can do to make a difference. Which is why over the coming months I am hoping to mobilise some university exchange students to start an initiative that pools together their talents in order to produce quality information about justice issues around the world, that empowers them to be advocates for the issues they care about and channels their creative talent to produce clips on issues of social justice. Whatever skills they have, they wont be wasted with me!

So again, if you have ideas on what people with YOUR skill set can do, please share them with me (leave a comment). What do you think business people can do? (The Mekong Club may be a good idea for business owners….). What can people who are baking skills do apart from just holding bake sales? What can artistic, athletic or even bored teenagers do to make a difference????

Some ideas I shared about today include:

  • Documentary night- Born Into Brothels, China Blue,  Taken,
  • Blog/write articles
  • Art show/auction
  • Music concerts
  • Bring a speaker in to talk about human trafficking (to your social/community/school group)
  • Bike race/ tournaments showcasing the issue
  • Talent/fashion show
  • Business owners can join the Mekong Club movement
  • Lawyers and former police investigators could join the International Justice Mission‘s work in investigating and prosecuting human trafficking
  • Hospitable people who just love to take care of people can get involved at safe houses etc…

For those of you who are advocates, bloggers or just faithful facebook-ers, here is a video by Not For Sale that you can share. It is about the all too common tale of how many people end up in conditions of slavery:

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