Last weekend I was honoured and privileged to share with our church’s women’s ministry how I came to be involved in social justice, why it’s important and a vision for on-going participation as individuals and communities. With today being the first day of #Dressember, I wanted to share with you why I’m taking part in this challenge and why social justice is such an important issue for us to acknowledge and fight for.
Why #Dressember and How to Fight For Social Justice
Social justice issues are very important to our family. We strive to educate our children in a gentle but open way as to the problems facing many people in the world – from slavery and trafficking to poverty and relief.
But this hasn’t always been the case! About 3 years ago, as I was debating a topic for a 31 day writing challenge on the blog, it struck me that I should write about something that I knew absolutely nothing about – the issues of ethical manufacturing, human trafficking and social justice. I can only think that it was God who prompted me to move in this direction since I was a little less than oblivious on these matters at the time. But over the course of the month researching and writing, he used what I learned to change my heart and my life.
I was blissfully ignorant as I did not know about the challenges in the fashion and manufacturing industry – how the vast majority of products are produced through unethical practices and slavery.
Though I was aware of the issue of human trafficking, broaching the topic was uncomfortable, the reality of what was happening overwhelming, and the situation seemingly unchangeable.
Thanks to social media, internet research and a growing demand for accountability, I learned a LOT about how companies can pursue ethical practices and how we can use our voices to require change and accountability.
I found out about organizations like:
International Justice Mission
all of whom are fighting human trafficking in Canada and abroad, rescuing men, women and children from slavery, pursuing justice and working to restore lives.
My life was changed because God used this time to wake me up and start a fire within, giving me opportunities to grow my passion and knowledge and spread it to others through my writing and conversations that followed. I became involved with a non-profit organization, The Lulu Tree, working with single women and mothers in Uganda and made connections and new friends with people working in organizations fighting for justice in Canada and around the world.
Recently I participated in the A21 Campaign Walk for Freedom in downtown Toronto. About 100 of us gathered to walk in silence, carrying signs and handing out cards with statistics for human trafficking.
The responses we received as we walked along and people read the material were sobering – shock, sadness, indignation that these problems exist not only in far-off countries, but also in our own backyard.
Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organised crime (exceeded only by drug trafficking).
Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern-day slavery, through forced labour and sex trafficking.
1.2 million children are trafficked every year
600,000-800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 per cent are women and girls. Up to 50% are minors.
27 million people are in bondage around the world
Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued
In the late 1700s, William Wilberforce, the driving force in the pursuit of abolishing the slave trade through the English parliament, once said:
We all have a part to play, whether big or small, by direct involvement or perhaps behind the scenes, praying. There is no greater weapon against human trafficking than prayer.
So how can we be involved and where do we start? One way is by educating ourselves. It wasn’t until I began to delve into some of the information surrounding issues of social justice that God prompted me to be drawn into this area of ministry.
- Check out the ministries and organizations listed below – read through the statistics, watch their youtube videos and testimonies, become familiar with what human trafficking looks like – because often it’s disguised as something completely different.
- Join our #Dressember team or make a donation to aid in the cause of fighting human trafficking, rescuing victims and ensuring traffickers are brought to justice.
- Listen to these podcasts from In Plain Sight about everything from working with local government, authorities and individuals in your city to recognize the signs and stand against trafficking, to the dangers and catalysts of this growing travesty (porn being a HUGE factor), to understanding the process of restoration for someone who has been rescued from a trafficking situation.
- Research anti trafficking laws in your country. I was surprised to discover that trafficking and prostitution has not been illegal in Canada, but that there are members of parliament and others who committed to actively pursuing conversations to ensure laws are in place and being followed, for the safety of every individual. Where legal prostitution exists, the growth of illegal prostitution, human trafficking and sex trade violence tends to be much greater.
Let’s commit together to doing something together and stepping out on this journey of being salt and light in a dark world!