Today’s staff feature was written by Stephanie Patton. Stephanie works on our Business Development team planning events and community outreach programs. There are many things we love about Stephanie, but what we appreciate the most is her passion and drive to change the world.
“I have the honor of presenting Rethreaded’s mission and educating the community on the facts of human trafficking. This is an important part of my job for many reasons. One of those reasons is, if you don’t know, you don’t know and you can’t do anything about it. After years of advocating for women in the community, I hear the same question being asked, how can I help? For anyone who asks this question, I have one response, have the hard conversations.
This is a hard topic. There are a lot of emotions wrapped around the thought of people suffering. Sometimes when our emotions are impacted and we see a glimpse of the darkness in this world, we avoid looking at it any further because it hurts too much.
But What if we start acknowledging that human trafficking happens every day of the year and not just during human trafficking awareness month. Or that people are sold every single day and it’s not just a trending hashtag that comes across social media when the people we place on a pedestal decide that this is their mission for the moment. Human trafficking isn’t a trend, it’s a business and just like any other business, it is run by supply and demand.
Let’s talk about demand. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s teach our children about the value and worth of other human beings. Let’s teach our children to be aware of their surroundings and discuss different vulnerabilities that make us susceptible to traffickers. No one is excluded from the population of potential prey for a trafficker. Let’s have an open dialogue when it comes to the long-term effects strip clubs and pornography have on a person’s perception of healthy sexual relationships.
When we start having the hard conversations and talking about what we are seeing, we start thinking about the people that are being exploited. When we start having the hard conversations we are acknowledging that there are people experiencing these things everyday. I know these are hard conversations and I know the topics can be uncomfortable, but what are a few minutes of being uncomfortable compared to the freedom of our youth? We can break the cycle of exploitation by having these hard conversations.
Being open to having a hard conversation is the first step. Participating in hard conversations about human trafficking can feel uncomfortable and that’s okay! When we sit in that discomfort with an open mind, growth is possible.
Unsure about how to start a hard conversation? Ask the person you want to talk to if they are willing and open to the hard discussion. If they are ready, that’s great. You can start by sharing resources from Rethreaded, Polaris Project, and The Blue Campaign. Offer to read through the materials with them. By taking the time to review the information together you are showing others that we are not alone in talking about human trafficking. Together, we can make a difference and change the world.
If you want to learn more about human trafficking, check out these blog posts written by Rethreaded staff: