There are currently an estimated 27 million people who have been trafficked into sexual and manual labor. Only 1-2% of these victims are ever rescued. These facts are pulled straight from the A21 Campaign, which is an organization that seeks to end human trafficking and slavery. As large as that number is, statistics are impersonal and often numbing. We connect and sympathize with individual stories that we can match to a face, and that’s what the A21 Campaign does.
On their website, you can read and watch videos from stories of survivors who have been rescued by A21 and rehabilitated in their safe houses. These safe houses provide services that allow survivors to take back control of their lives and bodies. They also provide lawyers to make sure justice is carried out to the fullest extent.
Since we’re on the topic, I think it important to clear up the difference between sex workers and survival sex workers/slaves. Sex workers are people who work in the business as their own choice. They are not the degenerates of society and are real people who work in a legitimate business making legitimate money. Survival sex workers, on the other hand, are sex slaves who do not have the choice to refuse sex work and are contracted against their will. Not all sex workers are victims, but not all of them feel empowered. Knowing the difference is an important step to move forward and joining the movement.
I write about the A21 Campaign because as a marketing major, I know how hard it is to pitch social justice issues to the public in a way that calls them to action. The A21 Campaign is a great example of good campaigning that not only increases awareness, but also gives us many options on how to get involved. If you can’t directly volunteer or intern for them, take a look at their list of “21 Ways to Get Involved”. Some of these are as simple as educating yourself and becoming a resource for the people around you, requesting a speaker to come your workplace or school, or writing a letter to a survivor in one A21’s safe houses.
Photos courtesy of A21Campaign.org