Help stop human trafficking

I’m taking a break from quilting and crafting posts to post about a subject that leaves me nearly speechless — human trafficking. I’ve seen some of the stories of what is done to women and children and families, and the atrocities are unimaginable to me living in my safe world. I’ve heard of teens kept in dog cages, and people being trafficked across international borders and then being held against their will because their captors take their identification and travel documents. I’ve heard of families being lured into selling their own children, often believing that that are giving them a chance at a better life or feeling so desperate that they feel they have no choice.

Here’s the bottom line: even conservative estimates indicate that there are currently more people held in slavery than there were during the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Obviously, we look on that practice as a dark time in our human history, so we should not turn a blind eye now to this issue.

That’s why I’m posting today. I personally support the work of the International Justice Mission, an organization that works around the world to wage legal battles, launch rescue operations, and provide after rescue support to victims of human trafficking. Their staff members have to literally be some of the bravest people in the world to do what they do. And, this organization is also responsible in their fundraising and spending; they have a 4 star rating (the highest possible) on Charity Navigator, a well-respected charity ranking website.

One of the reasons that modern day slavery has persisted for so long is because law enforcement agencies have had a hard time unifying their efforts; they have come a long way, and in 2000 Congress passed a Trafficking Victims Protection Act that made huge strides in helping our state department address trafficking. This act formed an Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP); there is one flaw in this system though. Because an office and not a bureau was formed the J/TIP director does not get direct access to the Secretary of State and is sometimes not included in important trafficking related conversations. Upgrading J/TIP from an office to a bureau would provide the Secretary of State with more timely and more accurate information. Here’s a fact sheet if you want to know more.

Passage of the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 2283/s.1249) would cut through unnecessary red tape that gets in the way of addressing human trafficking. IJM is urging people to unite on November 19th in calling their congressmen and senators to urge them to co-sponsor these bills. I’m writing to ask you to consider adding your voice.

If you want to see if your representative has co-sponsored the bill, you can use this link. I found out that my representative is already co-sponsoring the bill, and I was sure to send an email to his office to thank him that I do not have to call him tomorrow.

If you want to see if your senators have co-sponsored the bill, you can use this link. My Pennsylvania senators need some phone calls tomorrow.  If you don’t know your senators’ contact information, it’s one easy Google search away.

Thanks for taking a time out from creative posts to read about this heart-breaking issue and double thanks a bazillion thanks if you take a few minutes today to call your representatives and senators to urge action.