It is really important to acknowledge that each of us as individuals, as citizens, can play a part in the fight against slavery. Here are our top tips:
1. The first is to educate yourself and spread the word. Familiarise yourself with what slavery is today, how to spot the signs of exploitation and then spread the word. Tell your friends, family members and colleagues that slavery still exists and that we are encountering it every day. Start having these conversations and to encourage people to transform that awareness into tangible action.
2. Secondly, stay safe online. During this global pandemic, a lot of people are moving online and subsequently, traffickers are using the digital world to exploit people, especially young people. Stay safe online. Do not talk to people that you don’t know, stay safe on dating apps by familiarising yourself with how to spot the signs of cyber trafficking, sexual exploitation and grooming. Additionally, for young people and parents, have conversations with your friends and family about what you’re doing online and who you are talking to online – this helps to keep yourself and others safe!
3. Thirdly, write to your national and local politicians. Government policy is instrumental in the fight against slavery. Establishing policies on an international level to ensure that companies are being held accountable, policies that separate illegal immigration from human trafficking by creating safer immigration routes and implementing policies that tackle the root causes that enable exploitation in the first place (poverty, gender inequality, climate change etc.) is extremely important.
On a local level, you can write to your local government to get them to adopt a local strategy that helps to tackle slavery through raising awareness in communities, training emergency services on how to spot the signs and respond and establishing robust, effective and safe support for survivors who will often have faced severe trauma.
4. Support anti-slavery organisations. If you can, donate to organisations that are working to end slavery, Grass-root organisations rely on donations to keep safe-houses and support programmes running across the world. You can even start a fundraiser or sponsored event! Another way you can support organisations is by saving, sharing, commenting and engaging with their content on social media – this will help to boost their engagement and will allow their messages and calls to action to be spread even wider. Click here for a list of some of the most incredible anti-slavery organisations that we support.
5. Finally, consume consciously. Most of the products we use every day are likely to have been produced using slavery. With brands constantly looking for cheaper sources of labour, slavery is often the solution to increasing profit margins. So, if you can buy ethical clothing, that is great. However, buying second hand, locally sourced goods, thrifting, sharing and reducing the rate at which you buy can help slow the demand. Whenever you are about to buy something new, always ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this?’ and ‘Who made this?’. If a brand cannot tell you the answers to these questions, write to them, call them out on social media and put pressure on them to change!
There are a number of ways in which we can all come together and tackle modern slavery – these small acts and simple lifestyle changes can really make a difference.