an interview with Katrina, Partner Relations at The A21 Campaign
So. Trafficking. Can you give us the quick rundown on the current situation worldwide?
Human trafficking is a MASSIVE issue happening in our world today, it’s affecting people from every race, nation, and socioeconomic status. There are currently over 27 million people being held in this form of modern day slavery, more than ever before in history. These men, women, and children are trafficked primarily for the purposes of forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, involuntary servitude, and child militias.
And A21 is standing in the way of traffickers and helping raise awareness. Can you tell us a little bit about what you guys do, how you approach that?
Our strategy in combating human trafficking entails a comprehensive approach that addresses the issue from every angle: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. This allows us to walk alongside the victim from the time they’re rescued, through the rehabilitation process, and as they reenter society as a free individual.
What are some ways people in the US can get involved with what you do?
There are countless ways to get involved! Our supporters around the globe come up with the most amazing, creative ideas for how to combat trafficking. Whether it be through knitting, running, baking, or fundraising (to name a few!), you can truly use anything as a way to raise awareness and be a part of the solution.
I would also encourage you to check out the 21 Ways to Help page on our website, which includes writing letters to the survivors in one of our shelters, hosting a Walk For Freedom, or choosing to sponsor freedom by becoming a monthly partner.
On a personal note, what drew you to anti-trafficking work? I mean, you're the one sitting at the A21 office kind of on the front lines (from our perspective)!
I first witnessed human trafficking as a teenager – my family was a foster family while I was growing up, and I was horrified the first time I learned that traffickers target these young men and women in the foster system to exploit their vulnerabilities. From then on, I made the decision that I would work to make a difference for the next generation.
Any words of challenge or encouragement to people just learning about the issue and wanting to make a difference?
We live in an incredibly unique time in history. When presented with an issue like human trafficking, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of statistics and the heartbreaking stories – but I challenge you to allow this information to inspire you to make a difference. As William Wilberforce said,
“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”
As a global community, we are responsible for coming alongside one another and helping each other in times of need. For the 27 million enslaved, this is their time of need – and each of us now has the opportunity to respond by reaching out and offering a helping hand.
What are some of your hopes regarding bonJOY syncing up with A21 as a giving partner? I'll tell you ours: To help our followers become more aware of the work being done in the anti-trafficking realm, and to invite them into becoming a greater part of the story through our new give-what-you-will option.
At A21, we believe that raising awareness is key to abolishing the injustice of human trafficking. By preventing the problem before it even starts, there are countless boys and girls living in at-risk situations that will be saved from ever being trafficking in the first place. We are so grateful to bonJOY for choosing to partner with us in our efforts, and believe that through this partnership we can better reach the world with this message and make a difference.
What do you like about what we're doing here at bonJOY?
It’s awesome to see a company that’s dedicated to vetting their products and finding fair trade options. This decision can make a HUGE difference in the long run, as it helps bring awareness to the fact that through labor trafficking many people are not given the opportunity to earn a sustainable income. Our A21 team also loves the bright, uplifting message of bonJOY – in the midst of such a dark and heavy issue; we believe it’s important to focus on what we can do to be a part of the solution and bonJOY is doing just that.
Thanks to Katrina for doing this great interview with us! To learn more about The A21 Campaign and how they're fighting trafficking, visit their website and follow them on social media for up-to-the-minute updates on rescues. We love their current headline: "Our legacy will be freedom." YES.