So where does the demand for goods and services that trap people in slavery come from? Consumer footprints!
The Demand for Slaves:
Cheaper goods - we want to be able to purchase items at a reduced cost. This includes but is not limited to: clothes, computers, automobiles, cars, jewelry, coffee and chocolate to name just a few. This demand leads to minimization of labor costs as the solution for suppliers.
Cheaper labor costs - for farm workers, construction workers, domestic works (maid/nanny) and restaurant workers, and other venues. To understand these issues globally see:www.freetheslaves.net and www.notforsalecampaign.org
A new very interactive "cool" website is www.slaveryfootprint.org try it and see your own footprints in trafficking and where the fingerprints of those enslaved might be in your daily life.
In the area of sexual addiction which includes pornography, prostitution and pedophilia. Throughout the globe the demand for younger and younger children is multiplying for sex tourism and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. This includes the United States and the victimization of U.S. children in huge and growing numbers, see:www.sharedhope.org. This one of the most horrific issues with the medical, mental/psychological trauma and the lack of services to assist with rescuing victims and restoring their health (AIDS and STDs are very high a contribute to the global pandemic of AIDS) are very limited. Caring for the victims and helping them to gain job skills is a key to helping them to recover and not be re-trafficked in the future.
Begging and exploitation of children to panhandle in the streets - children are often maimed for an increased pity factor to prey on potential donors to their pleas forced by a handler who demands they sell trinkets or beg cash from persons on the street. These children are monitored by traffickers and often beaten or have food withheld if they do not sell their quota for the day.
The issues of demand on our part can be addressed in a variety of responses.
Learn more about how well companies you purchase from are doing in knowing that their supply chain is slave free or fair trade. See these websites for more information: www.betterworldshopper.org and free2work.org home A good book to grasp this is: "Everyday Justice" by Julie Clawson (2009).
Ending demand for the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children is an issue of morality and public health that can be addressed by the church and organizations concerned for public health and the welfare of women and children. Be sure to see the demand section on www.sharedhope.org. Many children who endure abuse at home runaway. Nationally, 1 in 3 runaways are reported as trafficked in to the sex industry within 48 hours of leaving home.
The church also needs to begin to teach children in their congregations and in public schools of the practice of grooming and recruitment that might make them vulnerable and how to not be tricked into the path that leads to running away and other exploitation. There are resources for parents and church staff available to start NOW teaching youth about human trafficking. Consider: www.purehope.net as an existing curriculum "p.u.r.e.Justice" a white paper exists at: here.
Additional resources through the Salvation Army's Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking campaign. www.iast.net
There is not just one way to activate on this issue - there is a plethora of possible responses and is only limited by our personal creativity. We also don't have to re-invent the wheel in many areas and through many current organizations you can find a means to actively find solutions for personal purchases and other means to address the demand issues.