National Human Trafficking Awareness Day has been observed annually on January 11th since 2011 to help raise public awareness about victims of forced labor, including forced prostitution, and how to recognize the signs of trafficking.
Tennessee is highly rated in its response to human trafficking cases and has what is considered to be some of the most progressive anti-trafficking legislation in the country. Still, after the tracking and prosecution of perpetrators, victims, many of whom are minors, are left to rebuild their lives with little to no recourse against the people who have exploited them.
Locally, there are several resources to help empower survivors of trafficking and you can get involved by volunteering or donating.
- CCV Memphis – A Way Out Program – A residential program providing safety, mentoring, and job skills training
- The Lisieux Community – A residential program for recovery.
- Restore Corps – Immediate crisis response, rehabilitation, and development for survivors, as well as community education.
- Thistle & Bee – Provides survivor employment and tools for reaching financial self-sufficiency.
- The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is also involved in advocacy to end human trafficking. You can learn more about their action here.
We often don’t look at an issue because it scares us, and I think what is so scary is that we will see an element of ourselves…and then what? We have no choice but to have empathy and help. — Julia Hinson
For more background on human trafficking in Memphis, check out this interview with playwright Julia Hinson and Project I Collaborative Arts founder Aliza Moran about their recent project addressing the complexities of trafficking, Squaring Up.