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Education & Statistics
How to Be an Informed Advocate in the Anti-Human Trafficking Movement
1 MIN
Education & Statistics

Spreading awareness is one of the most pertinent and crucial tools in the fight against human trafficking, both for prevention and supporting survivors in ways that they need. The foundation of this awareness lies in being an informed advocate--that is, educating oneself with the most up-to-date and accurate information and putting it to effective use through conscientious, proactive, and respectful communication.  

Whether you're new to fighting for the cause or a seasoned supporter, there is always more to learn and do to further your efforts for the cause. Read more about how you can start productive conversations and inform in a positive way below.

 

1. Educate yourself on the signs and prevention.   

What are the signs of human trafficking? 

The first step in becoming an informed advocate in the anti-human trafficking movement is to educate yourself on the issue as much as possible and to stay up to date on current information 

Here are some important ways to stay informed: 

  • Know the signs of human trafficking and how to protect yourself and your loved ones: ourrescue.org/training

  • Learn the basics of online safety and how to protect against predators: https://ourrescue.org/blog/5-essential-online-safety-resources/

  • Stay up-to-date on statistics and facts  

  • Get involved with your community, whether that be with local volunteers in the anti-human trafficking movement or with other informed advocates looking to make a difference: https://planyourrescue.org 

  • Always make sure to fact check with reliable sources and do your own research when reading sensationalized headlines or pieces of information in the media. 

 
2. Listen to survivors.

Am I listening to what survivors have to say? 

Gaining insight and education in becoming trauma informed is an imperative step when listening to survivors. Understanding how to support survivors can help facilitate the healing process. This is why O.U.R created a Worldwide Survivor Advisory Board made up of seven incredible survivors who share how to best support survivors. It’s by listening that we can all unite to raise awareness for the collective mission. 

The VP of O.U.R. Aftercare, Jessica Mass, states, “Survivors are the real heroes behind everything that we do. They are the ones that fight day in and day out for their healing. They are the ones that fight for their freedom. They are the ones that fight for other survivors. We are so blessed that we get to be a part of the solution." 

 

3. Cite accurate statistics and language.  

Am I using accurate language and information in my conversations?  

At O.U.R., we work to make the conversation surrounding trafficking and exploitation a fact-forward one. Using accurate information and being straightforward when talking about these sensitive and complicated issues is essential. Inaccurate information, whether from well-intentioned but misinformed individuals or from opposing groups, undermines the fight.  

Here are a few things to consider when talking about, sharing social media messages, and otherwise building awareness about human trafficking: 

  • Always use accurate and up-to-date statistics. We encourage you to always fact-check the figures you share on social media and in conversations regarding human trafficking by referencing reliable resources. Here are some of our most reliable and well-researched sources on human trafficking: The Polaris ProjectThe Trafficking In Persons Report, and DHS Blue Project.

  • Use straightforward, fact-based language when discussing human trafficking. Though human trafficking is a critical and sometimes overwhelming issue, our message is one of hope. Sensationalized language and misinformation are ineffective when building awareness and can fuel movements that hurt our mission.  

  • If you ever have questions about how to talk about human trafficking and how to fight it, find more information and resources on ourrescue.org.  

 
4. Start productive conversations. 

How do I start productive conversations about human trafficking? 

So now that you’ve listened to the needs of survivors, done your research on accurate citations and language, and taken steps to get involved, how do you start having conversations with others to educate in an informed and helpful way? 

When discussing human trafficking with someone who is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the topic, it’s best to be as informed, patient, and proactive as possible. In general, when learning about difficult information, someone is much more likely to positively respond to an educated and emotionally level conversation.  

Here are some prompts you can bring up to your audience, friends, and family members to get the conversation going in a helpful way: 

  • It is estimated that there are 24.9 million people affected by human trafficking (International Labor Office), and almost one third of the detected trafficking victims are children (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). What do you think are some steps we can take to help these individuals?

  • Online exploitation is a lot more common than most people think, but luckily there are easy ways to protect yourself and your family. Are you familiar with some of the prevention methods?

  • I know it can be overwhelming to discuss this topic. What are some ways I can talk about it with you that would make you feel more comfortable?

 


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