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Educating Communities and Equipping Changemakers

Building a future where everyone is free doesn’t just happen because we drew a red “x” on our hands or because we made a post on Human Trafficking Awareness Day. It doesn’t just happen because of a viral hashtag or because we organized a trafficking walk. Building a world without trafficking looks like frontline advocacy. It’s changing laws. It’s compiling global data, doing investigations, and working with survivors using a trauma-informed approach.  

It’s learning about the realities surrounding trafficking instead of buying into the sensationalized narratives. It’s letting empathy write the story instead of shame because the stigmas around the commercial sex industry only serve the traffickers. It’s taking intentional action, and one way everyone can do this is by educating themselves on human trafficking. 

There is so much more to the story than the images of chains and basements we so often think of when it comes to exploitation. Here at Greenlight Operation, we believe that education is vital to combat misinformation, empower learners, and equip community members. Breaking down the issue of trafficking encourages action – if people understand what the challenge is, they can do something about it. 

According to In Our Backyard, 1/3 of trafficking survivors in the U.S. were recovered because someone noticed something suspicious and chose to report it instead of walking away. An informed community is one of the biggest weapons we have in the fight to end human trafficking. But in order to leverage the power of communities, they must first be armed with knowledge. 

It’s time to equip individuals with more than a simple definition of what trafficking is. People can’t report what they don’t see. Educating communities means teaching them the red flags of trafficking – and not just the red flags of a victim. It’s also important to know signs that a potential trafficker might exhibit. People need to know what makes someone vulnerable to being trafficked, methods of recruitment, and how to report a potential victim. They need to learn the realities of trafficking instead of resting on what they’ve gathered from popular media. Sometimes learning about trafficking looks like unlearning what you think you know. 

Talking about human trafficking is difficult and uncomfortable but silence only helps the traffickers. Lives are saved when people understand the common threads that perpetuate exploitation and trafficking so they know what the anti-trafficking movement is fighting for. Can you imagine how many victims would no longer have to be bought and sold if communities were armed with the knowledge necessary to notice and intervene? Each one of us can play a part in someone’s freedom by becoming aware of what’s happening under our noses. Education is empowerment, and empowering communities changes the world.

The more you learn, the more it goes from being scary stats and tragic acts of injustice that happen in dark corners to real people with real names and real-life stories. We never want to admit that something as scary as human trafficking could be so close to home, but ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t help victims exit exploitation. It won’t improve education, awareness, funding, or the public response. Ignoring it makes us part of the problem. 

44% of survivors reported no one reached out and offered them help while being exploited, as stated by Thorn. So, let’s get uncomfortable. The fight to end trafficking requires us to live outside our comfort zones. Let’s embrace that discomfort as we learn, grow, and have hard conversations about sexual exploitation. It’s time to step into this fight with skin in the game and stop standing on the sidelines. This work needs all of us. Leave behind the spectator and become a changemaker. 

Why am I redirected to Christian Life Assembly's giving page?

Greenlight Operation is a newly incorporated 501(c)(3) and is in the process of filing its 1023. For now, Christian Life Assembly provides operational support to Greenlight Operation, such as our giving platform. Your donations are 100% tax-deductible and go toward Greenlight Operation’s mission.

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