We can’t all be on the front lines of rescuing and restoring those who are enslaved, but there are some practical things we can all do to fight modern-day slavery. As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Each of us has a voice. Let’s use it! With social media and the Internet, it’s never been easier. Ready, set, go…
1. Sign the online petition pressuring Village Voice Media to shut down the “adult ads” section of Backpage.com, a website responsible for advertising sex with minors in 22 states. Now that Craigslist has eliminated its adult ad section, Backpage sells 70% of these online ads, generating a $25 million revenue last year according to the AIM Group (Online Prostitution Ad Revenue Study). Although once skeptical that signing a petition could change anything, I’ve seen these online petitions effect meaningful changes, such as persuading a major hotel chain to eliminate child sex trafficking in its hotels (see details here). So, add your voice to the 200,000+ others that are calling on Backpage to stop profiting from the sale of minors for sex: Tell Village Voice to Stop Child Sex Trafficking on Backpage.com
2. Petition shareholders in Village Voice Media, including Alta Communications, a Boston-based private equity firm, to stop financing child-sex trafficking on Backpage. Sign the petition on change.org here: Alta stop financing child sex trafficking. After being exposed recently by Nicholas Kristof in the NYTimes, Goldman Sachs quickly unloaded its shares in Village Voice Media. If Village Voice won’t abandon its Backpage adult ads section, we can urge its remaining major financiers to pull out.
3. Buy fair trade products. Look for the fair trade label and research companies that have strict standards for labor practices. For further details see the previous Amirah blogpost by Teri (Not) Shopping for Social Change.
4. Tell your favorite product brands to root out slave labor from their supply chain.
Chain Store Reaction (www.chainstorereaction.com) is a fantastic website to facilitate this. As their slogan states: ”Pick a brand. Send a letter. Start a reaction.” Sign and send a pre-drafted letter to your favorite brand with a simple click of your mouse. Be relentless and keep contacting these companies until they acknowledge this issue!
5. Go to www.raisehopeforcongo.com to find out which electronics companies pledge to avoid using “blood minerals” (mined by slaves in the Congo) in their cell phones and computers. Only buy brands with strict standards in their supply chains. There is still much work to be done to see slave-free electronics on the market, but this is a start.
6. Ask major hotel chains and airlines to implement the Tourism-Child Protection Code of Conduct put forth by ECPAT stating that trafficking will not be tolerated on their premises - Promote the Code. Do business only with hotels and airlines willing to sign the Code.
7. Last, but certainly not least, act locally by donating to Amirah. Make a monthly donation of $5, $10, $20 or more if you can. Amirah has a great opportunity to receive a matching donation of $50,000 through early May. Donate today to ensure that a trafficking survivor in Boston will have a secure place to live and be restored through trauma therapy, job skills, and life skills training. Help us meet our goal of opening the very first safehome for trafficking survivors in the greater Boston area.
So, which of these steps will you take? Let us know!
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” Marian Wright Edelman
Jodi is a "molecular biologist/science teacher-turned full-time mom" with a passion for Amirah's mission to bring healing and restoration to survivors of modern-day slavery