It’s a whole lot better to actually prevent someone from being trafficked than it is to rescue them after the fact, and it’s one of the most effective ways we can work in our communities.
Let’s think about the ways people get trafficked and what types of preventative measures might be useful.
In the case of sex slavery, sometimes girls* are recruited by a cute boy who acts like he has a romantic interest in them, a man who serves as a father figure, a girl who acts like a girlfriend or a woman who seems safe. Did you see the movie Taken? Remember the boy at the airport who shared a taxi cab with the two girls when they arrived from America for a European holiday? That boy was a recruiter.
There are cases in which a “girlfriend” invited the victim to her home for a sleepover, then the man who was allegedly her father (but really wasn’t) popped a drug into her drink. She wakes to find herself being raped by a succession of men.
Often kids from abusive homes are befriended by a charmer who poses as a boyfriend. He “loves” this girl and makes her feel special. Over time, he says that if she loves him, she will sell herself for sex to make the money they need to buy a house and live happily ever after. He becomes increasingly violent. He follows tried and true methods for breaking a girl into sex slavery. (There’s actually a manual to tell him how. For real.)
What if these young people—and their parents and teachers—had seen a presentation in school about the tactics and dangers of traffickers? If we simply opened some naïve eyes, how much heartache might be avoided?
My dream is to create a presentation to do just that, and bring it to schools, youth clubs, inner city and immigrant service providers and the like. It would take so little, to do so much good.
This project is very do-able, very affordable, and can be very effective. Like the idea of a slave-free community? Me too. Let’s make it happen!
Here‘s what you can do:
- Act in a short drama portraying the tactics of traffickers
- Direct this drama or write the script.
- Use your musical skills to write and/or perform a song that will stay in kids’ minds after the presentation, causing them to think twice if they encounter red flags.
- Once polished, video the presentation so we can distribute it more broadly.
- Take leadership. Organize and oversee this project.
- Donate toward the cause, to "work of Derri Smith for prevention."
Contact us here
* Boys and men are trafficked too. Because 80% of victims are female, I choose to use the feminine nouns and pronouns for victims.
I’d like to start the New Year off expressing my deep, sincere gratefulness, and that of all of us on the End Slavery TN team, for the generous outpouring of donations we received last year, enabling us to concentrate on the task at hand. We are greatly encouraged. If you are a donor, you rightfully want to know what your money is being used for. This entry is intended to answer that question. If you are not a donor, this may be of interest nonetheless, as an overview of the work of End Slavery in Tennessee. PREVENTS slavery
Keeping people from being trafficked is even better than rescuing them. We’re designing/adapting materials and, in 2010, will be using them to teach the tactics of traffickers to
- Children and youth
- Inner city and immigrant service providers
- Others who work with young people
HELPS VICTIMS in transition
One girl rescued from sex slavery told us she knew some trafficking victims who later turned to prostitution because they didn’t have a toothbrush. In other words, no one was looking out for their physical needs as they transitioned back into normal life. After years of a trafficker controlling their every move, freedom can seem overwhelming. Better that they feel overwhelmed by how we care for them.
We’re working with the FBI and others to provide direct help to rescued victims. We also offer training, encouragement and financial support to those establishing shelters in Tennessee.
MOBILIZES and EQUIPS an army of volunteers
ESTN is all about grassroots activism and we have an exciting and ever growing network of activists, each of whom is playing their part in ending slavery.
- Allow tools for communication and information to flow.
- Provide general and specialized volunteer training for core volunteers and those involved in research, advocacy, community education and (future) working directly/ indirectly with victims.
- Provide resources for activists to carry out their work on college campuses, in faith communities, with professional groups, in the workplace and among artists.
TRAINS people likely to encounter trafficking
We train groups of professionals who are likely to make contact with victims or see the suspicious signs of trafficking, so they can correctly interpret what they see and know how to provide help. Examples of groups we’ve trained include apartment managers, medical personnel, teachers and community leaders. Your donations provide training materials.
EDUCATES the next generation
End Slavery Tennessee provides books and media on modern slavery to university libraries, so the next generation, tomorrow’s policy makers, is not blind to this travesty. Your money makes this happen.
SPREADS AWARENESS to the community at large
Once they discover the facts, some choose to directly engage in the movement to end slavery, others use their knowledge to affect public policy, buy differently and/or spread what they learn to their sphere of influence.
Your gifts provide supplies, handouts and travel costs for group speaking engagements (about 50 in 2009). This is in addition to meetings and other communication with individuals, student interviews, radio (78 stations) and TV interviews, newsletters, etc.
ENABLES RESTORATION and hope – a new life for rescued slaves
Donations provided "seed money" to start Freedom Parties and Presents with Purpose events, selling items made by rescued slaves, enabling them to earn a living and restore their lives. These products are purchases from around the globe, as well as right here in Tennessee.
UNCOVERS TRAFFICKING in our own backyards
Donations provide posters with hotline number and red flags for victim ID. Police say these posters are useful for victim identification. Volunteers – truck drivers, student and church groups, apartment managers – place these posters throughout the state.
In addition, specialized training by experts in the field enable us to catalogue and research local activity, providing useful information to overworked law enforcement officers, with the goal of leading to prosecution (expanding in 2010).
Local activists teach at the Nashville “John’s School” for men convicted of soliciting prostitutes. These activists teach how choices feed the monstrous machine of trafficking and the organized crime behind it.
Slavery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many factors, including poverty, contribute. Victims overseas often end up in wealthier receiving countries, like the U.S. (Conversely, we’ve heard of streets in Mexico lined with trafficked US children, for example.) Goods made by slaves overseas end up on our store shelves, immigrants flee to the US for a variety of reasons and find themselves deceived and trapped into slavery. And those who remain trapped overseas are generally in nations without the will and /or resources to help.
A minimum of 10% of all donations go to support international initiatives. Some donors designate additional funds to specific projects, like a border crossing in Nepal where survivors of trafficking work in conjunction with border police to identify traffickers and their victims in transit to India. (In just one year, donations helped our colleagues on the border rescue 1,747 girls from the sex trade!)