excerpt From the Daily muse
Each of these organizations has a different strategy, but all of them, little by little, are making major strides in ending human trafficking.
Trafficking Policy and Advocacy: Polaris Project
One of the most influential groups working on the issue in the United States, the Polaris Project takes a comprehensive approach to ending modern-day slavery. The organization advocates for stronger federal and state laws, operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, provides services and support for trafficking victims, and works with survivors to develop long-term strategies to ending human trafficking.
Second-Generation Trafficking: Prajwala
In India, children who grow up in brothels with their parents often meet the same fate. In order to counteract this dangerous legacy, social activist Dr. Sunitha Krishnan co-founded Prajwala (which means “eternal flame”). Based in Hyderbad, India, the organization rescues women from brothels and then provides them with education, mental health care, and job programs. (Check out Dr. Krishnan’s powerful talk at the 2009 TedIndia Conference.)
Statelessness and Child Trafficking: COSA
Most Hill tribes in Thailand are “stateless,” or not governed by the laws of the country—which makes their women and girls particularly vulnerable to trafficking. After recognizing this, photojournalist Mickey Choothesa and social worker Anna Choothesa created the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia to provide education, intervention, and support in Hill tribe communities. COSA works directly within trafficking communities to provide trafficked girls with healthcare, social services, and housing in the Baan Yuu Suk Shelter—as well as to bring awareness and education to the traffickers themselves.
Trafficking of Men and Young Boys: Urban Light
A number of organizations help girls in the sex industry, but very few work to aid young men. After a service trip during which she observed the industry in Thailand firsthand, Alezandra Russel realized that boys are often excluded from the human trafficking conversation. So she created Urban Light, an organization that works to help young men break free from child prostitution and sexual exploitation. By providing food, shelter, healthcare, and support services, the group helps restore and rebuild the lives of male victims.
When a large sporting event, such as the World Cup, takes place, fears often arise that trafficking will increase to meet demand from the influx of tourists. Student World Assembly’s Red Card Project mobilizes students from around the world to stage powerful and striking condemnations of human trafficking at these events, bringing large-scale and needed public awareness to the practice.
The handmade rug industry has one of the highest child labor rates in the world. When GoodWeave began its work in 1994, there were nearly one million children—many kidnapped or trafficked—working on the looms in South Asia, often for up to 18 hours a day. Through its efforts, the organization has not only helped bring child labor in the rug industry down 75%, it has built affiliations with retail outlets all over the U.S. to ensure that all carpets sold are free from child labor.
Not all who work in the sex industry do so against their will—some do so by choice. While the resources of most organizations aim to assist those exploited and hidden in the shadows, The Empower Foundation grew from a movement of sex workers and entertainers who fight for fair and sustainable standards and equal rights in the professions they have chosen. The group runs the Can Do Bar, which offers just, safe, and fair conditions for its workers.