“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is on January 11, and this is our opportunity around the world to say, “No more,” as a united force. It is very difficult for us to believe that such horrific travesties still exist in our world today, and yet the incredibly sad truth is that many are still living lives of slavery and bondage without simple freedoms and liberties.
We tend to think that this is happening someplace far away from where we live, but we cannot escape the fact that it is happening in every corner of the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “Human trafficking affects every country of the world, as countries of origin, transit or destination—or even a combination of all.”
To be really clear on exactly what “human trafficking” is, here is how the UNODC defines it:
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
My heart breaks for the millions of victims, as well as their families, whose lives are exploited for the purpose of profit and greed.
There are many amazing organizations dedicated to identifying and bringing perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice and freeing the victims. We can support their efforts by learning more about human trafficking (there are many resources available on the internet) and discussing this issue with people close to us as well as with our local political leaders.
We can join the efforts of anti-trafficking organizations, as well as educate ourselves on good business practices, so that we are not inadvertently purchasing goods that were created by forced labor.
We can keep our eyes and ears open, so that if we suspect someone is being coerced into something he or she does not want to do, we can report it to the proper authorities.
My prayer is that people everywhere will be able to look into their own hearts for love and compassion. That is when the exploitation of others will no longer be a frightening reality. May all beings everywhere be content and at peace.
For more information visit
For help in the United States, go to