After trafficking ends…do we through our hands in the air and walk away?
After trafficking ends…do we forget about the women, men, and children who have been affected by it?
After trafficking ends…will we celebrate and then return to our regular lives?
After trafficking ends…is our job over?
After trafficking ends…do we stop standing up for the chained and oppressed?
After trafficking ends…do we stop advocating for its abolition?
After trafficking ends…will we notice when it starts again?
When trafficking ends…I will keep fighting every day to ensure that the freedom and autonomy that we fought so hard for is never taken away from another person again.
I wholeheartedly believe that we can see the end of modern-day slavery in our lifetime. I believe this because I know that there are people all around me who are tirelessly fighting and showing up every day to ensure that everyone has the chance to not only encounter freedom but live autonomous lives. However, I know that there will always be evil present in humanity because we live in a sinful and fallen world and that when trafficking does end, we need to be ever vigilant to ensure that no one gets trapped in its snares again.
In case you hadn’t noticed already, I’m very passionate about abolition and fighting for the freedom of every person. This means that I won’t quit advocating, no matter how hard things get or how far we advance towards our goal. Activism and abolition aren’t bandwagons or one-and-done scenarios, they’re not a way to get followers on social media, and it’s not about showing others you’re a good person. Abolition is battle-tested spirits, tear-stained faces, calloused hands, and hearts that have been broken and mended too many times to count. It’s having weather-worn faces because we won’t stop speaking, demanding, and acting until all are free. And once we have achieved our goal, we will still speak up and advocate to ensure that what we fought so hard for is never lost or taken away again.
You don’t have to be the perfect person with the eloquent words and professional photographs to join the fight. You need to be you because that has and always has been enough. You have a voice we need to hear and a perspective we need to see. If you’ve been waiting for an invitation, this is me officially inviting you to join the fight. Welcome here, let’s start with a few things I wish someone had told me when I first started my abolition journey:
Take it Slow
When you research human trafficking, make sure you wade into the water slowly. If you’ve never looked into the realities of trafficking and sexual exploitation before, it can be easy to overwhelm and overload yourself. This is a dark, heavy topic, don’t underestimate the effect it will have on you. Rather than trying to drink in the whole ocean of information, take it one glass as a time. Please, please, please don’t let yourself become jaded as you discover your place in the abolitionist movement. It can be so easy to focus only on the darkness, but that is not what we are; we are the light shining in the night. So make sure to seek out stories of hope and restoration along the way because there are so many, and those deserve to be shared just as much (sometimes more) as the statistics.
Find Your Fellowship
Advocating isn’t a solo activity. Find people around you or join an organization that will help to guide you through the tough parts and will offer mutual support. This can be a very emotionally draining journey, and it’s not one that you want to take alone. Frodo didn’t take the ring back to Mordor all by himself; he probably wouldn’t have made it out of the shire on his own. He needed his people to help him fight, to encourage him, and to walk through the hard times with him. You need that as well, we all do. Find your people or join a group where you be around like-minded people where you can spur each other one and hold one another when things get to be a little too much.
Use What You Love
We all have different gifts, talents, and passions, use those to advocate in a way that is unique to you and reaches the people around you. If you love fashion, look into how fast fashion fuels human trafficking and companies that are committed to the ethical treatment of their workers. If you love sports, check out how sexual exploitation spikes during major sporting events. If you love music, consider how song lyrics and music videos can propagate and condone the idea of using people for their bodies. When you start to look, you’ll see that every area of your lives is connected or affected by human trafficking, which means that no matter who you are or what you do, you can be part of the solution. Use your words, art, influence, platforms, and anything else at your disposal to speak up for those whose voices have been silenced.
Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are significant issues, but the good news is that together we are the solution. Together we can shine a light into the darkness. Together we can support those right at the ground level of it all. Together we can demand reforms in legal systems. Together we can break chains. Together we can bring freedom. Together we can end human trafficking. We can continue advocating and fighting for the autonomy of every person after we have abolished human trafficking…Together