There are many networks and resources available nationally and globally with the sole purpose to combat human trafficking. When I first started researching human trafficking about five years ago, I was overwhelmed with the number of organizations that are devoted to protecting human rights and ensuring that victims have a voice.
Examples of national human trafficking organizations that accomplish substantial work in the U.S. as well as abroad are:
· The Polaris Project has served hundreds of victims, trained thousands of individuals, including foreign nationals, and provided resources, such as the National Human Trafficking Hotline
· International Justice Mission has investigative efforts around the world;
· The NationalCenter for Missing and Exploited Children is a leading non-profit organization that works with law enforcement and other professionals to ensure the well-being of all children;
· Shared Hope International offers a variety of victim services; and
· Free the Slaves is an international grassroots anti-slavery organization.
For some these large organizations may seem out of our reach, because they are not located in your community. The good news is that local efforts to combat human trafficking have expanded greatly in the last decade. Many states in the U.S. have regional and statewide task forces that help connect people from all professions. Volunteers at the various task forces are accomplishing substantial work by offering their skill sets to collaboratively combat human trafficking. This is why I decided to start locally and see where I could help, which is how I got involved with the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.
Human trafficking will not be combated without the ongoing help from all levels of government, including prosecutors, policy makers, law enforcement, medical professionals, grassroots groups, activists and YOU and ME.
TAKE ACTION: If you are already on the frontline and working to fight human trafficking don’t give up! Think about all the positive things you have accomplished and what yet needs to be done and use these reflections to keep you moving forward.
If you are not involved yet, but you are reading this blog, then it probably means that you have concerns about this issue. Take the next step and find a task force in your area and see how your experiences and qualities can be put to use. If a task force doesn’t exist, find a group of people who share your same vision and create one. The most important thing you can do is get involved because you never know how valuable your time and expertise can be to someone else.
Sona Movsisyan is a senior at Michigan State University, studying in the James Madison College. Her aspiration is to be a human rights attorney and an advocate for victims of human trafficking. Sona is currently an intern working for MHTTF.