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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day raises awareness about human trafficking and sexual slavery around the world and has the goal of ending slavery, giving people back their rights, and making the world a safer place for everyone to live. On June 22, 2007, the United States Senate designated January 11 as National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness, in an effort to raise awareness of and opposition to human trafficking. The Senate designated the day with the passing of a resolution, but the House of Representatives never passed it, so it never became law.

The day takes place during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which was first proclaimed in 2010. The Department of Homeland Security gets behind National Human Trafficking Awareness Day by sponsoring #WearBlueDay on the day, where a blue article of clothing is to be worn, or a blue ribbon is to be pinned to a shirt or lapel. Some cities even light landmarks, bridges, and buildings blue in honor of #WearBlueDay.

Somewhere between 20 and 40 million people are enslaved around the world, more than at any other time in history. Most cases are hidden and go undetected. Over two-thirds of slaves are women and girls, and the average cost of a slave is $90. There is not just one type of slavery—the list is varied: children forced into being soldiers, young women forced into prostitution or marriage, and forced labor or the exploitation of migrant workers.

Human trafficking has to do with transporting people into such types of slavery, and may even be done for organ removal. It affects every country in the world—it is believed that about 50,000 people are trafficked in the United States each year. Sexual exploitation is the number one reason for human trafficking, and according to one figure, it accounts for 79% of all trafficking. Women and girls are the main victims of this, and 2 million children are victims of sex trafficking each year. Twenty percent of all traffic victims are children.

How to Observe

There a few ways you could observe the day:

  • Talk to the children in your life about strangers, and make sure that they have important phone numbers and addresses memorized.
  • Learn about the National Human Trafficking Hotline and save their phone number to your contacts: 888-373-7888. If you suspect someone is being trafficked, this is the number to call.
  • Become involved with or donate to an organization that is fighting human trafficking, such as Polaris or Free the Slaves.
  • Explore free training and awareness materials about human trafficking from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Learn more about human trafficking and slavery and what you can do about it through End Slavery Now.
  • Watch a film or series that deals with human trafficking such as Lilya 4-Ever, Human Trafficking, Trade, Taken, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls or The Pink Room.
  • Participate in the Department of Homeland Security's #WearBlueDay, which is part of their anti-trafficking initiative, Blue Campaign. Wear a blue article of clothing or pin a blue ribbon to your shirt or lapel, and then take pictures and post them on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay. Gather together your family, friends, and work colleagues to participate. You could also post a video message or organize an event that fosters discussion about human trafficking as part of #WearBlueDay. The Blue Campaign could also be followed on Twitter.

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