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Children like this young girl are prized in the carpet industry for their small, fast fingers. Defenseless, they do what they're told, toiling in cramped, dark, airless village huts from sunrise until well into the night. Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department

Monday January 11 is International Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  President Obama has also declared that January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month culminating on National Freedom Day on February 1, the day the 13th Amendment was sent to the states for ratification.

You can raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking by letting your friends and family know about the problem in your facebook status.

For example you can post:

“is raising awareness about the problem of human trafficking on human trafficking awareness day (Jan. 11). Human trafficking is another name for slavery. The US State Department estimates that 17, 500 people are trafficked into the US annually. They can be maids or tomato pickers
in Florida. Copy and paste this message and update your facebook
status to raise awareness about this issue.”

You can clean up the wording to make it work for you.  You can include other actions like contacting your US representative or senator to ask them to join the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus.  You can suggest to buy fair trade chocolate for your loved one for Valentine’s Day because it is slave free.  Kristin Branson, a graduate student at UC San Diego, compiled a comprehensive list of slave free chocolate that you can use as a guide while shopping for your loved one.

You can comment to your own status update and post links with more information about human trafficking with the homepages for Free the Slaves, Not for Sale, or the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. You can also post the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons’ 2009 report on Human Trafficking or the 2009 report put together by the United Nations.

You can also read survivors’ stories at the Polairs website.  You can read about a 15 year old Catholic girl from a Detroit suburb who was enslaved for two years by “Daniel”.  His cousins had photographed her being raped by Daniel and the pious girl didn’t want others to know about her rape so she did anything that they asked.  They drugged her and had her service their friends.

In other human trafficking news, the BBC recently reported that forced prostitution and human trafficking has become rampant in China as a result of the one child policy there.  Researcher Wang Guangzhou found that in some provinces, there are 130 boys born for every 100 girls.  Females are aborted because of the cultural preference for males and the belief that a male would be more likely to take care of a farm than a female.

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