Education, Awareness, Activism, and the Community

            Now we are going to wrap up the week’s series on prevention. We have discussed the importance of education and awareness. How awareness is an extension of our newly found education, and how activism is the important action of that awareness and education.  Now up to this point we have only discussed the responsibility of prevention in regards to the individual, but now we are going to make an important shift unto the community.

            Although every individual is responsible for prevention, and can make a huge impact, the community as a whole is what really finalizes and enforces the change that wants/needs to be seen.  No matter if every individual is practicing prevention, it will do nothing if these individuals aren’t unified under one cause. That being said community is a broad concept with many layers. It is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.In this case I would like to talk about this and the roles within a community.

            Within the community they’re a few key roles. A few of these are: businesses, students, law enforcement, and health providers. These people are vital to the community and are key components of education, awareness, and activism inside a community. They are people with power who move a community forward and push for growth and involvement. On the issue of human trafficking prevention, there are a few things that each of these groups can do, in order to increase human trafficking prevention.

            Business is one of the largest and fastest growing fields. Students are constantly declaring majors in business and entrepreneurs are becoming more and more common. As businesses thrive, their influence in a community grows. One of the ways they can use this influence in their community is by providing opportunities. Some examples are, providing internships, job skills training, and making jobs available to trafficking survivors (U.S Dept. of State). In addition, community consumers are also important. Try making purchases from companies that sell items made by trafficking survivors, or goods where the profit goes towards anti-human trafficking efforts (U.S Dept. of State). Some examples would be Jewel Girls or Made by Survivors.  

            Law enforcement is also very important. Officials in the community should consider starting a local human trafficking force, or holding educational panels about human trafficking (U.S Dept. of State). If your law enforcement teams doesn’t have any programs focusing on human trafficking, maybe start a group within the community and bring this to attention. Also, attorneys are an important part of law enforcement and play a hefty role in human trafficking violations. It’s important that attorneys stay alert and look for signs of human trafficking among clients, and possibly offer legal benefits to human trafficking victims (U.S Dept. of State).

            Another important player in the community are health providers. These people are some people’s ticket to life and recovery. A couple things that they can do to help prevent or deal with human trafficking issues is by providing low-cost (or free) services to human trafficking victims assisted by anti-human trafficking organizations, as well as train your staff on the indicators of human trafficking in order to better assist victims (U.S Dept. of State).

            Lastly, and I feel most importantly are the students. Students have a unique and powerful outlet in their communities. They are capable of doing great things. Therefore, take actions on your campuses and within your communities. Join or create a club to raise awareness. Maybe write a paper focusing on human trafficking issues to help educate peers and professors. Students are the future, and it’s important to be engaged in your community now.

            Communities are important constructs of life. They are facets of society that are vital to progress and support. If everyone did something in their part of the community, in order to help prevent human trafficking, maybe I wouldn’t be writing this blog. If every person tried actively to make a difference and band together under one community, the problems that weigh down on our hearts may be relieved and resolved. I challenge you to be a part of this movement of change. To actively eliminate the struggles around us and end the pain. It stars with 1 and ends with a community.