In school you get taught that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we’re sad to say that slavery still exists. There might be as many as 27 million slaves in the world today -- even in our own backyard.
For the sake of the 27 million modern-day slaves, we’ve put together a list of ways you can help. When Shay Mitchell recently told us about her involvement fighting slavery, she kept talking about how there are ways you can get involved to make a serious difference. And it’s true! Here are five more ways you can help make slavery history.
+ Polaris Project
The Polaris Project has put together a petition that’s calling for Safe Harbor laws. It gives an example of a 15-year-old girl who was forced into sex trafficking and was assaulted. But instead of being treated like the victim she was, she was put into juvenile detention for selling herself. Safe Harbor laws would protect girls like this so that they would get help instead of being treated as if they broke the law.
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (a.k.a. GEMS) helps girls and young women who have been trafficked. If you’re a bookworm, pick up a copy of “Girls Like Us,” a memoir by GEMS founder Rachel Lloyd. And if you’re a film buff, you can buy or rent the GEMS documentary “Very Young Girls.” Learning about how human trafficking works is an important step to fight it.
+ Free the Slaves
If you’re a college student now, I’ve got a great idea for you: join or start a Free the Slaves student chapter at your school! If you go to the Free the Slaves website and fill out the form they have there, they’ll get you the materials you need and help you with your activism. They also encourage you to share and swap what you’re doing on social media. Not only will this spread ideas, but you might get featured on their blog!
+ Slavery Footprint quiz
Okay, so you don’t own slaves, but chances are something you own got to you through some kind of slave labor. When you take the Slavery Footprint quiz, you’ll get a better idea of how many slaves might inadvertently be working for you. While it is a really depressing and awful reality, the quiz is made to teach you about slavery and help you fight it.
+ Against Our Will
Against Our Will is mtvU’s own campaign against human trafficking. We’ve got some big names involved, including Alicia Keys, P!nk and Jada Pinkett Smith, and we know they’d be thrilled if you joined them. Besides educating you on the facts of slavery, Against Our Will supplies you with tons of ways to take action. So check out the site and spread the word!