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« You don’t always get what you want | Main | Re: Practical Justice »

February 23, 2007

RE: Practical Justice: What Can I Do?

Here are a few more things I found to add to the discussion on how we can work practically to end modern-day slavery and relieve victims.

Awareness

The Undersecretary of the State of Global Affairs, Paula J. Dobriansky, responds to the question of how ordinary people can respond to the modern-day slave-trade:

Awareness is often the first and most significant step to combating trafficking. Many people have no knowledge of this human rights abuse and egregious crime. Some have misperceptions of the true nature of illegal commercial sexual exploitation and other forms of servitude to which trafficking victims are subjected. Americans who travel abroad can play an important role in raising the visibility of this issue, and encouraging citizens of other nations to do their part in ending trafficking. They can also assist in education -- especially in rural communities -- about the ways in which traffickers mislead and coerce would-be victims.

I think it is important that we don't downplay the role of raising awareness. Mark Earley talked a little about the importance of bringing evil to light in Tuesday's BreakPoint on Wilberforce and the Spirit of Awareness.

Microenterprise

Here is another example from Christianity Today of a creative way some Christians have gotten involved in helping people escape from modern-day slavery.

For the last four years, Mats Tunehag has been linking churches, agencies, and Christians with business skills to ministries fighting trafficking and prostitution. As the World Evangelical Alliance's and Lausanne's senior associate for Business as Mission (BAM), Tunehag is calling on churches worldwide to deploy gifted businesspeople to work where they can create lasting change.

A business approach to ministry requires market analysis—examining the local market and beyond, identifying competitors, and allocating capital—which requires involving people with business experience.

Tunehag defines BAM as business with a kingdom perspective, where God transforms people and their communities spiritually, socially, and economically. "Business is not just about getting people a job and income," he says. "It's a vital instrument in the transformation process."

Read the full article, "Red Light Rescue," here.

Volunteer

Over at the Polaris Project, a group dedicated to fighting human trafficking, there are an array of volunteer opportunities. I love how they've broken this down into ways to help by the increments of time you are able to give... Got 5 minutes? 10 minutes? A day? A few months? I'd still like more information to see if what they are asking volunteers to do is genuinely furthering the work in a direct way or if it is more of a fundraising effort (not that fundraising isn't important).

Here's another group I'm less familiar with called Acting For Women in Distressing Situations. They describe themselves as a non-government, non-religious, non-partisan organization. They are dedicated though to combatting trafficking, offering holistic care to victims, and helping those victims develop viable trades. Again, I haven't done enough research on the group, but it appears that they have volunteer opportunities, for people who have a number of skills. You can check them out here.

Of course, I've already mentioned Christian groups like International Justice Mission and World Vision, who are working in these areas and who could use our financial support. If you are going to just give, I'd give to one of these first. But I don't see many volunteer opportunities listed with them and that's why I've looked into some of the other organizations that may not be Christian, per se. Hope some of these thoughts are helpful. Do other readers or bloggers have suggestions on practical ways to help in the fight against modern-day slavery?

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