T-Shirts with a Purpose Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking
You Don’t Have to Be Powerful
in Order to Have an Impact, Expert Says
Slavery not only still exists – it’s a thriving big business throughout the world, says Lucia Mann, author of “Rented Silence” (www.luciamann.com), which explores slavery and institutional brutality.
She lists the following facts that have global citizens concerned:
• There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history, roughly 27 million people.
• Children make up nearly half; each year, 2 million children are forced into prostitution.
• Approximately 75 to 80 percent of human trafficking is for sex.
• Sex trafficking plays a major role in the spread of HIV, researchers say.
• Human trafficking not only involves sex and labor, people are also trafficked for organ harvesting.
• A human trafficker can earn 20 times the amount paid for a girl – at least $250,000.
“As terrible as the transatlantic slave trade was throughout four centuries, there is now more than twice the amount of slaves today being trafficked than those who were shipped to America,” says Mann, whose Sicilian mother was a sex slave in South Africa and a World War II concentration camp survivor. As a child, Mann was abducted from her mother by her biological father — her mother’s master.
Young people are joining the effort to fight the tidal wave of human trafficking, including Emily Fulker, a freshman at Shippensburg University. She became inspired to act after learning about the Underground Railroad in the 1800s, as well as today’s slavery, in school and in her church.
Fulker and her friends decided to find a way to contribute to International Justice Mission, an organization that rescues victims of human trafficking, by selling stylish T-shirts featuring facts about today’s slavery problem. Find the shirts by typing “Buy Shirts to Free Modern-Day Slaves” into a search engine online.
Mann offers additional suggestions:
• Scholarship credits: Overachieving high school students frequently participate in charitable events and organizations to earn credits for scholarships. Students can speak with their guidance counselor to see if they can get credit for a car wash, bake sale or other event to earn money for organizations that help today’s slaves.
• Host city watches: Any city hosting major events, such as a political or business convention or the Super Bowl, among others, is at higher risk to experience prostitution and human trafficking abuses. The Catholic Sisters congregations have recently taken measures to fight slavery-based prostitution in American cities; Mann says other charity groups should consider doing the same.
• Tax-deductible events: Successful businesses frequently contribute to charity for at least three reasons – to help those in need; donations can be written off come tax season; and it is great PR in any given community. Though there are many worthy charities, more businesses might consider tackling this relatively new and growing problem, Mann says.