Curious about the red X you see everyone on social media today? Today, February 25th, is the day thousands of us all over the world will “Shine A Light on Slavery.”
Yes, slavery still exists. And yes, so do modern-day abolitionists!
Here are a few facts from Not For Sale:
- What is it? Modern-day slavery is the acquisition of people using force, deception or coercion with the intent to exploit. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy and the electronics we use. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.
- How many people are currently enslaved? There are 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any point in history.
- What kinds of slavery exist today? Labor trafficking and debt bondage are the most common forms of slavery today. Using coercion, violence and deception, labor traffickers force victims to work against their will in industries that range from small mom-and-pop shops to enormous mineral extraction camps.
Sex trafficking is also extremely widespread, generating $99 billion in illegal profits annually. Victims of sex trafficking are predominantly women and girls who are forced to work in the commercial sex trade against their will. Physical and emotional violence is an intrinsic part of this industry, which preys on those in conditions of physical, economic and psychological vulnerability.
- Why does slavery occur? Trafficking exists because there is skyrocketing demand for cheap products, labor and services. For traffickers, there is also abundant money to be made and little risk of discovery because the crime is so difficult to identify.
- Where does slavery occur? Slavery and human trafficking occur in virtually every corner of the world, with hundreds of thousands of victims in the United States alone. Victims of trafficking have been found in all 50 states and in cities, rural areas and suburbs.
- Men, women, and children are sold into a $150 billion annual market for sex and labor. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second- largest criminal industry in the world.
- Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (C.S.E.C.) is the sexual abuse of a minor for economic gain. The majority of child victims come from environments of extreme instability, and most have suffered sexual abuse prior to their commercial exploitation. Homeless and street youth, or those facing food and shelter insecurities are also easy targets.
- There are an estimated 2 million children exploited in the commercial sex industry worldwide. And 12 to 14 is the age in which a girl is sexually exploited in the commercial sex industry in the US.
“Shine a Light on Slavery Day” was instituted by the END IT MOVEMENT as a way to unify the cause so many of us fight year round and in our own spaces.
So, this is it. This is our day to let the world know that SLAVERY STILL EXISTS and we won’t stand for it! We want to own the conversation on February 25th. Join us and raise your voice for the men, women and children trapped in slavery around the world today. Draw a RED X on your hand, snap a selfie and post it using #enditmovement. Awareness isn’t everything, but without it, slavery will never end.
About the END IT MOVEMENT:
END IT is a coalition of the leading organizations in the world in the fight for FREEDOM. Each of their amazing 16 coalition partners are doing the work, on the ground, everyday, to bring AWARENESS, PREVENTION, RESCUE, and RESTORATION.
If you see something you need report, or if you need help, please call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. You can also text “BeFree” to 233733, or submit a tip online at PolarisProject.org.