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:
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:
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: