Yesterday I outlined some terrible facts about modern-day slavery (People shouldn’t be bought and sold). But what can we practically do?
Join up with an advocacy group
There are many groups that lobby governments to make changes that will bring a greater degree of justice. These groups may have a particular area they focus on, or they may cover a wide range – but you can choose where you focus.
One of the best ways to get into this is join up with a group which organises on-line petitions. I don’t know how effective these are, but surely they have some effect. Some suggested organisations:
- Amnesty International is a respected advocacy organisation that has been around for more than 50 years, and has a reputation as credible and impartial. It runs many campaigns, including online campaigns (this page from Amnesty Australia), and you can get a feed of all campaigns or a newsletter with links to campaign pages.
- Stop the Traffik is a coalition of organisations and individuals, set up about 6 years ago, to fight human trafficking. You can check out their campaigns, though these seem to be more educational or supporting the organisation’s advocacy than personal advocacy.
- Avaaz was established just 6 years ago, and may be a little more radical than Amnesty, but operates similarly. You can subscribe to an email newsletter that links you to online petitions, and you can even start your own petition.
- Change.org is a for profit platform that allows anyone to start a petition on any matter. It therefore has less ideals than Amnesty and Avaaz, but can be used for good – for example, Amnesty apparently uses the platform.
- The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women and The Advocates for Human Rights are advocacy organisations that appear to do good work, but I haven’t any personal involvement with them.
I receive email updates from five of these organisations, then choose which campaigns I support. I would recommend the organisations roughly in the order listed above, but I have not joined with the last two so I can make no judgment about them.
Individual letter writing is an effective advocacy tool. It lakes longer than online petitions, but is very individual and personal. You can write letters to your local members of parliament, to overseas Governments, or to corporations. I have written a few letters to parliamentarians, and a few more to chocolate manufacturers.
Amnesty and Voice of the Martyrs can provide information on prisoners of conscience you can write to (not exactly slavery, though sometimes close to it) – letter writing to persecuted christians or other prisoners of conscience can be a group exercise for churches or youth groups.
Make international justice one of the factors you consider when you vote. It may change your perspective on who you should support!
Forced labour on cocoa and coffee plantations is only a small part of world slavery, but it is one of the easiest to combat. Find out your local Fair Trade brands and support them when you can, plus tell the bigger companies you want to see them move to Fair Trade certification. There have been some good changes in this area recently. Read more at The bitter truth about chocolate.