Blog by Dawn Marie Lemonds, past SI Board Member and SIA President 2017-2018.
Each year, the World Day Against in Trafficking in Persons happens on the 30 July. The United Nations have announced the theme of this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons: Victim’s Voices Lead the Way.
“This year’s theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons highlights the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. Survivors are key actors in the fight against human trafficking. They play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, identifying and rescuing victims and supporting them on their road to rehabilitation.”
This theme resonates particularly with me this year as a mantra I have always held: “Nothing About Me Without Me”. This year’s theme demands that we, as citizens, service workers, supporters, governments, agencies and advocates hold this human rights principle sacred for all. Read the excellent materials presented by the UN and listen to the stories that are told by the people themselves. What a difference it makes when people affected by a travesty determine what they want said, how they want it presented, and when the story needs to updated, revised or stopped.
This month, you will hear a podcast on SI Voices featuring Dr. Sandra Morgan from Vanguard University and the Global Center on Women and Justice on “ethical storytelling” which encourages every person and organisation to develop values-based goals that hold the human rights and voice of the people we work for to be at the centre of every decision we make.
Before we march forward working on solutions- an excellent resource by Dr. Sandra Morgan is “The Quickstart Guide to Ending Human Trafficking: 5 Things You Must Know”.
Sandra’s mantra is so important to all of the work we do. Study the issues, be a voice, come together to fight this battle (in partnership with the “overcomers” and the professionals who are working to prevent, prosecute, protect, and develop policies. Following are the 5 “headings” for what we must know before we act.
- Know what it is – Make sure that as you learn you include education about labour trafficking as well as sex trafficking as it is also a huge problem facing our world.
- Know how to spot it and report it – This isn’t “somebody else’s problem”, it is all of ours to resolve and it is essential to do it in the right way, according to your laws.
- Know the best ways to rescue– As much as you may want to “fix” the problem yourself, it is potentially harmful and dangerous to be a maverick.
- Know how to prevent – It will take the multilateral approach involving all systems and interested parties to work together.
- Know how to fight it – Be a student. Listen, read, learn, listen and then do it again. There are over 250 Podcasts available on the End Human Trafficking Podcasts related to Human Trafficking.
Now it is your turn to be part of the solution. Around the world Soroptimists have been active partners in the issues related to Human Trafficking since the Quadrennial Project in Thailand in 1995-1999! This project provided education to children in 7 villages in Northern Thailand that promoted self-sufficiency and diverted them from the commercial sex industry. Innovative partnerships continue throughout the world in many of the 3000 communities that Soroptimists are in in our 121 countries. Currently we are addressing this issue internationally with our multifaceted International President’s Appeal “Road to Equality”. Practical solutions and projects including “on the ground” support of victims, collaboration with partners, and participation in policy development and implementation remains the clarion call for Soroptimists through our Educate, Enable and Empower focus. We invite others to join this global volunteer movement!