A21 Raises Awareness for Human Trafficking in the New Year

The A21 Campaign is in the midst of a 10-day initiative to give people ways to fight human trafficking. People around the world are being asked to choose one of the 21 ways recommended on their website to help raise awareness for global injustices.

“We believe awareness is 80 percent of the solution and we are committed to bringing injustice to light,” the campaign website states. “2012 will be a significant year because we have an opportunity like never before to add our voices to the global shout for justice.”

Those participating in the Jan. 11-21 BECAUSE initiative, named as such “because everyone matters,” can commit to joining the fight and then share it with others via social networks.

The actions A21 recommends are simple and can be done by individuals or in groups. They include writing a letter to those who have survived and come out of human trafficking, praying, and educating yourself on the effects of sex trafficking through resources and articles.

The A21 website states that even something as simple as a letter provides encouragement and hope for those coming out of human trafficking situations.

Other recommendations include sending clothes, gift cards or supplies to women in need at their facilities in Greece or Kiev.

Participants are even encouraged to throw a party “with the purpose of informing those closest to you about human slavery,” the website states. The campaign provides partiers with brochures, short films, and a party-planning guide.

According to Operation Mobilization, another organization committed to ending Human Trafficking, it is estimated that there are 27 million slaves in the world today, trapped in various forms of bondage and abuse. Three out of four are women. Eight hundred thousand people will be sex-trafficked this year. Eighty percent will be female and 50 percent will be children.

It was out of awareness for these statistics that the A21 Campaign, which stands for Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century, was born.

After extensive research, planning, and fundraising they opened their first shelter for victims of human trafficking in Greece at the end of 2008.

Their website states they through that shelter they are “now able to provide trafficked victims with a safe, loving, and comforting environment, access to medical care and psychological assessment, vocational training, assistance in university education, life guidance and counseling, and access to legal assistance.”

But it wasn’t without its setbacks. Christine Caine, founder of the organization spoke at a recent event in Charlotte, N.C., about the beginnings of A21.

She said she felt called by God to start the campaign to combat human trafficking in Eastern Europe, but a team of experts looked at her organization’s plan and recommended that they not start there because it would be almost impossible.

When her husband called to inform her of this news, Caine recalled that she stood up in the airport lounge in Frankfurt, Germany, and shouted into her cell phone, “You tell them that we are well able to do what God has called us to do.”

Four years later, A21 is working in six nations, and in the spring of 2011 they opened a new home in Kiev, Ukraine, to help victims become survivors.

After setting up in the Ukraine, A21 then sent out a team to set up in Sofia, Bulgaria. According to A21, “Over 15,000 women have been trafficked from Bulgaria and it’s one of the major trafficking countries in Eastern Europe.”

In England, they started a pilot school program, reaching students and teaching them about modern-day slavery. In Australia and the United States, they work with students encouraging them to be abolitionists of sex-trafficking in their communities. And in Ukraine, the organization has warned over 3,500 students of the dangers of trafficking in their country.

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