When people think of anti-human trafficking work, they typically think of rescue and shelters. Rescues are exciting and shelters are needed and everyone easily understands why they are essential. But neither really does anything about ending slavery. If a victim is rescued, a trafficker brings in two more. And shelters are for after the fact. They are needed, like emergency medical workers are needed in an epidemic. But at some point, we need to cure the illness itself as well as identify those who have it; or leaving our analogy behind, to address the systemic causes that allow slavery to flourish, as well as identify victims so they CAN be rescued and restored. And that’s just what we at End Slavery do. Here’s an overview of our current and "in the works" initiatives:
- IDENTIFY THE VICTIMS: Distribution of posters, bookmarks, bumper stickers and other materials that help people identify victims/ web page with victim ID red flags
Community Watch type programs to enable neighbors to spot trafficking in their own neighborhood. Speaking to community groups. Fielding calls, e-mail, and Facebook messages and advising community members who suspect trafficking and are unsure what to do about it.
- PROTECT OUR YOUTH: Presentation and materials for schools, inner city and immigrant service providers and other youth venues, warning youth, and those who care for them, of the tactics of traffickers.
Teen oriented web site warning of trafficking tactics with ways to share info easily with friends and to report, anonymously if desired, what is happening within peer group.
- OPEN PROFESSIONAL’S EYES: Training for professions likely to make first contact with victims (teachers, pastors, medical workers, social workers, legislators, apt. managers, maintenance workers etc.)
- SUPPORT THE SURVIVORS: We work with the FBI to provide help as needed for rescued victims and we hold events and home parties to increase venues for sale of goods made by rescued victims.
- SLOW THE DEMAND: We teach at each session of the local John school (a school for men arrested for soliciting prostitutes), educating the attendees on how their choices feed human trafficking and slavery. Other initiatives are currently under consideration such as billboards, ads, flyers and/or other media targeted to the people buying the slave’s services or goods
- LOOK TO THE FUTURE: We teach in numerous college classes each semester so the next generation, the leaders of tomorrow, will not be ignorant of human trafficking and modern slavery.
We hold regular events on college campuses, spreading awareness and encouraging/equipping student involvement in ending slavery while they are still in school.
We have interns each semester who learn deeply about the issue and ways to work to end it. In every case thus far, students continue to work with us after their internship is over and make career choices focused on ending slavery/aiding victims.
- EDUCATE: Through a monthly newsletter, blog, twitter, Facebook cause, and regular speaking engagements. This not only leads to victim identification, it is our belief that we can create a groundswell of outrage that will affect change makers in the media, legislators etc.
- REPLICATE: We were instrumental in connecting people who started a coalition in Knoxville and an anti-slavery group in Memphis and look to spreading anti-slavery work throughout Tennessee. We also train churches, and other groups, in Tennessee and other parts of the country, how to engage in ending slavery in their own communities.
This is a grassroots movement using ordinary people in all walks of life. We have two monthly volunteer groups, one in Nashville and one in Franklin. These groups further educate themselves on the issue and break into action groups focusing on various initiatives.
In March 2010, an organization working among oppressed people in over 60 countries, asked End Slavery in Tennessee’s Director, Derri Smith, to help them establish teams around the world focused specifically on slavery and human trafficking. While taking on that non-paid director’s position with International Teams (ITeams), she remains committed to the work in Tennessee, as well. In fact, she is working on establishing ITeams’ first full-time domestic anti-slavery team in Nashville, which will serve as a training base for other teams in the US and around the world.
- Derri is also currently engaged in starting/ expanding/considering anti-slavery teams in Uganda, Brazil, Thailand, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Australia, Cambodia, India and Russia.