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What is the best way to spread awareness of human trafficking in suburban areas?

At 27 million people and 32 billion dollars a year, the modern slave industry is at an all time high. It affects every country and community in the world in some way or form and any person could become a victim. There is not set "type" of group or person that becomes a part of this industry. Anyone can be a victim. Age, gender, socioeconomic status, language, country of origin, none of that matters.

And yet it seems that very few communities are aware of this problem. It does affect every community in some way and so few people seem to consider it more than a problem that happens in poor urban areas or third world countries.

What would be a good way to spread awareness about the issues of human trafficking to a community? What would be a good way to inspire awareness and involvement in the efforts to eradicate this scourge? How would one go about doing this?

The answers I'd find most helpful are creative ideas, examples of past communities working together to help in a global problem, examples of what you would do in this situation or possibly what you have done in this situation, if you had ever before been faced with this or something similar.

Thank you!

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    Jan 12 2012: Cecilla --

    To spread awareness of human trafficking in suburban areas, three simultaneous areas should be mobilized:

    Public safety, media, community forums.

    Engage police and FBI. Support their efforts, but stay on them. They are very busy and, due to the subversive nature of trafficking, will need compelling reasons to dedicate resources to your effort.

    Engage good investigative journalists. Same model: they'll need compelling reasons and supports to break cases. But they have tremendous power and often equally inexhaustible energies to do so.

    There are cultural things you should do, too. Such as begin community dialogues with others who are concerned. Churches, public libraries, arts groups and social services might provide support for these.

    Trafficking is the kind of hidden-social networks nefariousness that needs bright lights shined from all corners at once.

    Good luck!
    Andrea
  • Jan 12 2012: A quick answer is to view the A:21 Campaign and Not For Sale websites for inspiration and connect with the founders. Perhaps schedule an event for them to speak along with others of like mind to raise awareness and get people involved.
    I belong to both...Good Luck! Irene

    A:21 Campaign - http://www.thea21campaign.org/ [Christina Caine is AWESOME]
    Not For Sae - http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
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    Jan 11 2012: Hi Cecilia,
    What my organization does in terms of preventive measures is awareness raising through information campaigns and mini-educational trainings among at-risk groups, consistent of children and young adults - potential victims of trafficking, originating from troubled families, or children in orphanages and other social protection institutions, particularly in suburban areas, remote regional districts and villages. All activities imply interactive form, where the trainees can easily participate, tell their worries and concerns. Especially demonstration of some video material (as an example - http://vimeo.com/15113068, borrowed from MTV Exit) works well with this kind of audience, only note that local bound concepts and situations are more effective, that is what is good for North America doesn't go for Central Asia, etc. It's worth noting that our task is not to inculcate some fear of becoming a victim or some prejudice in the trainees, (it's very important to stress that!) because among other things our objective is to fight sterotypical thinking, but to familiarize people with the problem's tangibility and the variety of forms human trafficking may take.
    In case you are interested I can provide more detailed information. Hope it was useful.
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      Jan 11 2012: In fact many situations that we in America dont think of as Human trafficing exist in our daily lives, we see hookers working for pimps and think little, we buy products without a thought of who made them and under what conditions. I would love to hear more about your group.
    • Jan 11 2012: Your group sounds very interesting. :) I'd love to hear more about it. In my case, the group that I'd be raising awareness in would be children and teenagers, most of them from suburban areas. What do you think would be the best way to reach them?
  • Jan 26 2012: we have a register of csc people it is easy to use look up you area and find out who lives around you. we could do something like this a data base of missing people you could look up by photos put in it things like age, size, sex, hair color, langue type of region, race type of searches. you could also pull up geo coding of where people have disapeared from and what ages, sexes ect.. also when people are found. we could locate those on the maps showing where they were found and where some one might want to look for others that are missing. once the data base is created then get non profit or donations to advertise on tv or internet. in poorer cummites where they do not have these avuenes posters and a local spot to use the inter net like a police station, town hall, school would be the most impact full i would think. it wiould help the kids to help with things like "stranger danger"
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    Jan 24 2012: I just met with a vice cop the other day about this issue. He is having great success in his approach to educate the police force to stop focusing on the girl and redirect their attention the the perpetrator.

    I would love to have a conversation with you around this issue. I happen to be on of those souls who thought this atrocity did not happen in our back yard. The one positive light in this mess is that it's so shocking and so deeply wrong that when people ( at least in my experience ) learn about it they want to help immediately.

    I shot some coverage photography at a correctional facility for girls. A woman of whom had been trafficked starting at age 12 when her parents simply gave up on her is now setting up facilities to help their girls get their lives back. I was in a room with 60 girls ranging in age from 12 to 17. Everyone one of this had this history on them. A 14 year old asked a question. "Why would I want to get out of this place. I have a pimp. As soon as I get out he is going to get me." I asked my 12 year old daughter if she knew what a pimp was when I got home that evening. She had seriously never even heard the word before.

    People who institute and thrive on this kind of work are the lowest form of existence. I am going to use all that I am to try and educate and be a force of change and disruption for good.

    Forgive me, I mostly rambled about an experience instead of delving deep into your question. I do believe talking about it to everyone who will listen will have a great impact as a starter, just because of the sheer depth of our general ignorance around this issue.
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    Jan 17 2012: Dear Cecilla,

    I am also fighting against human trafficking back in home country Nepal with the help of Japan. I could only think about finding the simplest policy to make people aware that this is a issue.
    In my experience I found that to approach people and say would be easier and this is a basic as to create the similar policy to bring it to people, good luck!
  • Jan 14 2012: Except for how big and how severe the problem of human trafficking is, think we are all well aware.

    The problem lies not in awareness, but in action. I know what's up, you know what's up, so...? What are we going to do about it?

    The authorities are the first place to go but authorities have existed alongside human trafficking for God knows how long.

    A better way is coming at the problem from a different side. We need to ask someone who is in their system:
    Do you like what they are doing to you? Are you free to leave? Why not leave if you can? What will you do once you're out?

    Then you can get the authorities involved once you have the right information.

    Human trafficking is a kind of business that violates human rights. All business must have customers..
    Meaning the absolute best way is to limit the customers of these horrible businesses.

    This time you ask yourself: Am I a customer? How do I limit myself from buying? How does the other party feel when we do business? Am I in anyway keeping my close friends and family from being customers?

    I all comes down to respect and care. Any kind of campaign will do, any kind of campaign will help.
  • Jan 14 2012: Except for how big and how severe the problem of human trafficking is, think we are all well aware.

    The problem lies not in awareness, but in action. I know what's up, you know what's up, so...? What are we going to do about it?

    The authorities are the first place to go but authorities have existed alongside human trafficking for God knows how long.

    A better way is coming at the problem from a different side. We need to ask someone who is in their system:
    Do you like what they are doing to you? Are you free to leave? Why not leave if you can? What will you do once you're out?

    Then you can get the authorities involved once you have the right information.

    Human trafficking is a kind of business that violates human rights All business must have customers..
    Meaning the absolute best way is to limit the customers of these horrible businesses.

    This time you ask yourself: Am I a customer? How do I limit myself from buying? How does the other party feel when we do business? Am I in anyway keeping my close friends and family from being customers?
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    Jan 12 2012: Russel and Cecilia,
    It is in fact common that people don't recognize the problem as relevant and up-to-date, and if the target groups are from large cities, they would say something like "hey, we know about our rights more than you do", that is why children and teenagers from suburban areas are a more appreciative audience. We offer real case studies for consideration, and always use statistical data to support the theory. Only keep in mind that your task is NOT to frighten away, but to warn. We also try to educate people to be tolerant and avoid hanging tags on others, because human trafficking may concern everyone, and development of non-violent behavior and attitudes are the key objectives.
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    Jan 11 2012: I think if you were to set upo a Dog the Bounty Hunter meets Navy Seals /cops program where you documented the serch for and attempted rescue of a US citizen from slavvery would be the best. Its pathetic but thats what will reach the average americain.Besides TV would be a great place to look for the finincing to do such a search, and the best way to have someone do the right thing is to show why its such a good thing for their own self interst.

    Geraldo Rivera and Dog the bounty hunter on the front lines with FBI Hostage Rescue Team Tonight at 10pm
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    Jan 11 2012: One very powerful method would be to find in the slave trade even one live or dead child from the USA who is on our endless lists of missing,our milk cartons, our walmart bulletin boards , demonstrate with even one case that the childreen who dissappear in the country end up enslaved or dead in other parts of the world and you will by implication suggest that all the thousands that we can not locate in our own country my be enslaved elsewhere, that some may yet be alive. The parents and the news medias which (right or wrong) feed of the horror and greif of the victims would give you a powerful entree to US media and a powerful lobby to support the FBI in its attempts to pursue this issue. I hope you have luck and I will do whatever you can think of that might help you. I was a child victim of sexual assault fortunatly not a slave but I know how very close to the line I came.
    • Jan 11 2012: Thank you for your comment! Yes, that would be a very powerful, albeit heartwrenching for the victim's family, method. And it is true. Whenever young children or teens that have been missing are found to be alive and in slavery or have escaped somehow, the entire community of that person responds. People do need to see that it can happen to anyone, including someone we may know. I'm glad to know that you survived your ordeal and I wish you the greatest amount of joy in your life!
  • Jan 10 2012: I'm as concerned as you are about the Slave trade going on everywhere. It will take some time to think over what the remedies are. One does not have to be in such a state to consider remedies.