Joining Global Allies for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Our vision is a world without slavery, where everyone is equally free to flourish. 
 
Yet today, one out of every 200 people in the world is a slave.
 
The latest Global Slavery Index, published by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, estimates that 40.3 million people live in some form of modern slavery — more than three times the number during the transatlantic slave trade between the 15th and 19th centuries.
 
A common misconception is that this human rights violation only impacts “other” people far away from the United States. The truth is that an estimated 313,000 people in Texas are victims of sex or labor trafficking, forms of modern slavery where a person is controlled through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for another person’s profit.
 
July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a perfect time to raise the question, “What can be done to address a problem of this global magnitude?” 
 
Allies has chosen to answer that question by focusing on a fundamental part of the larger solution ecosystem — using data, technology, and partnerships to find and help victims of trafficking. 
 
Human trafficking is a complex, hidden crime. It is difficult to see and understand. All too often, victims are “hidden in plain sight”, as if they are invisible. This is especially true of sex trafficking victims in the U.S., where up to 88% of survivors in one study reported interacting with a professional during their trafficking experience who could have helped but failed to identify them. In another Texas-based study, over half of the participants who sought help from law enforcement or healthcare providers were not identified. When victims aren’t identified — when the problem of trafficking remains hidden and mysterious — exploitation and violence continues to spread at a huge cost to individuals and society.
 
Allies built Lighthouse to ensure more victims and survivors of sex trafficking are found and protected. Lighthouse is a software platform organizations use to identify victims, coordinate care, and understand trends in data. The theme of this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Person focuses on frontline professionals and first responders — “the people who work in different sectors identifying, supporting, counseling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.” Partnerships with the Office of the Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team and the Dropbox Foundation among others are helping us scale Lighthouse so the platform is available for frontline partners across Texas and beyond. 
 
To date, over 40 organizations and approximately 400 professionals are using Lighthouse to identify and help care for victims of trafficking, while improving their work each day and learning from the data they collect. We’re proud to empower frontline partners to shine a light on the darkness of human trafficking and guide those who are trapped to freedom.
 
While our work is geographically focused on the United States, we are connected to a global movement. The United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) represent one way the international community is tackling today’s biggest social, economic, and environmental issues. Modern slavery is specifically addressed within SDGs 5, 8 and 16. With Lighthouse, we’re linking arms with others who are similarly committed to “eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls…end[ing] abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children…[and] immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking. 
 
So on this World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, will you take a stand with us to join this movement? If you work with vulnerable populations, learn how Lighthouse can help you successfully identify human trafficking in your job each day. Or consider becoming a sustaining donor with a monthly donation that supports our work getting Lighthouse into the hands of professionals across Texas. Together we can do our part in this movement to protect freedom and dignity.  s

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