We continually try to ensure that the messages we put out resonate with younger audiences, by bringing the issue of human trafficking to a level they can understand; not an overwhelming subject that has no bearing on their lives but as one that is very much linked to their everyday activities – in particular but not limited to, their use of social media. Deconstructing human trafficking into concrete examples and messages is how we seek to integrate the youth community into the solution of preventing this illicit trade. We convey the information. And they share it in their own manner, through their creativity and their own ideas.
The role of education can be highlighted in many ways, and to all ages. While aiming to prevent human trafficking altogether, we emphasize the crucial role of youth-to-youth education and put their actions in the front and center of anti-trafficking efforts in a manner they are most comfortable with. We encourage the youth to speak up and speak out, to realize the strength of their voices in bringing together all groups and sectors – youth groups, schools and universities, mainstream and social media, the entertainment industry, businesses, and beyond – to take action against this illicit trade and be part of the solution. Yes, the youth are the prime victims of human trafficking. But they are also the most active group of people who can actually do something about it. With the global reach and connections enjoyed by the youth today, any support provided is limitless. Moreover, if more than one group takes a stand against human trafficking and uses its available resources and networks to spread awareness to its peers and communities, it creates a multiplier effect. It is this multiplier effect – or butterfly effect – that promotes cooperation from others and increases overall anti-trafficking efforts, since the message is distributed widely. Wherever they may be in the world, young people may express themselves in different ways but speak the same language. Their voices matter. Their voices can make a difference. And the information they share catches on and influences people of all ages. This is what we try to underline through our educational projects and programs.
Although much has been achieved over the years, there is a lot more that still needs to be done. Human trafficking is a complex phenomenon and any solutions will require several methods of intervention. For instance, restoring the dignity of trafficked victims and ensuring they receive justice must be central to any anti-trafficking programs. Human trafficking is also a global problem that requires global solutions and needs all sectors of the community to work together with each other to support, and enrich, each other’s initiatives.
Education is a first step to prevention. It is only when this step is taken and a strong link between all sectors of society has been established that human trafficking can finally be eliminated. And it will be!