Slavery in the 21st Century seems impossible and even outrageous! When people first learn about human trafficking, they have a common question WHAT CAN I DO?
Some respond with, “Seriously, I am just one person so anything I do won’t make enough of a difference”. Others are ready to immediately join a group, launch a campaign, or start a nonprofit. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you are on, I hope to offer you another perspective.
We will start with 3 strategies to help you navigate finding a meaningful point of engagement.
1. GO SLOW GO FAR
This old African proverb is great advice for advocates. As Director of the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University I often remind people of our mantra: Study the Issues. Be a Voice. Make a Difference.
There is a lot to study around the issues of human trafficking. Questions rise to the surface that are obvious: How did it happen? Why isn’t anyone doing something about __________(you fill in the blank – investigation, rescues, tougher laws, hunger initiatives, education, community development)? The good news is that a lot of someones are doing something. Studying the issues, doesn’t necessarily mean learning more about the elements of human trafficking. It might mean researching who the other someones are in your community.
Can you imagine how much time and resource your could save if you don’t reinvent the wheel? (Oh, that’s right, time is a resource! So, for you StrengthFinder #Activators out there, doing your homework will get you into action faster!)
The Freedom Collaborative was launched to help limit duplication of scarce resources and enable you to find those nearby. It currently lists 928 organizations! Find who they are, what they are doing, and where they are located. You might find a partner, a model to replicate, or a practice you will avoid. It’s all research!
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF FIRST.
Undirected or misdirected motivation wastes the precious resource there is in the battle against human trafficking, people! When you join the social media groups, you’ll find your alerts, notifications, emails, posts, and messages can consume the time you might otherwise be using to DO something.
You may have already been overwhelmed by the incredible amount of human trafficking content that is out there. How do you decide which ones to follow? One way to get up to speed is to listen to the Ending Human Trafficking Podcast. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, and the podcast page on the Global Center for Women and Justice website.
I recommend you start with Podcasts 71-72 (2 part series on Myths about Human Trafficking, and Podcasts 89-90 (2 part series on Community Engagement).
If you teach a Christian Education class at your local church or lead a small group, have everyone listen to podcast #85, Prevention that Empowers, a Biblical Best Practice Model, then lead a discussion about it when you meet. There are many resources that have been vetted for you at this link GCWJ Resources to help you get started.
3. BE STRATEGIC.
There are lots of volunteer opportunities, a few jobs, and a tremendous amount of need in the battle against modern day slavery.
Be deliberate in planning how to engage. Focus on your expertise and resources. If you over commit in something you are not good at or don’t like to do, you may find yourself frustrated and looking for a way out, leaving your team disappointed.
Sit down with a piece of paper (OK, that’s old school), maybe your tablet or laptop, and make a list of things you are good at and even enjoy doing.
My co-host on Ending Human Trafficking, Dave Stachowiak, did that. Three years ago he began producing and co-hosting our bimonthly podcast. It’s been nominated for awards and recognized by the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth.
Dave used his broadcast and technical expertise along with his studio and time resources to make a difference in the battle against human trafficking. He is a good model to show how important it is to assess expertise and resource before diving in. Three years later and we are still recording!! Big shout out to Dave Stachowiak and his weekly podcast, Coaching for Leaders.
The numbers are daunting, more than 21 million slaves globally, more than 900 organizations, and only one of you. You can make a difference. Start today. What will you do? Leave a post and let me know!!