A Global Day of Generosity
Welcome to the up|END Campaign! For the second straight year, we’ve decided to launch our giving campaign on this now-celebrated global day of generosity known as #GivingTuesday. Today, hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be donated in more than 100 countries to important issues facing our world. It is truly a “global giving moment”! If you’re reading this, human trafficking is likely one of those pressing issues that matters to you personally. As we invite you to “upend” human trafficking with us today, I want to take a minute to share some of my recent reflections on our local response to this global crime.
Like many social issues, human trafficking must involve global, national, and local approaches that respect one another’s roles in combating this crime. Even the hyperlocal levels – our cities, our communities – must be empowered with knowledge, resources and tools to comprehensively address such a convoluted form of severe exploitation. We need the global and national pictures to paint the widespread nature of the crime; we need the local picture to understand the minutia, the day-to-day confrontations.
The Ultimate Abuse of Power
Over the course of the last two months, our country has witnessed one particular national picture regarding exploitation and the abuse of power. We’ve been rocked by a staggering number of sexual abuse incidents by men in powerful positions. These stories have painted a picture that demonstrates how pervasive and widespread sexual abuse is across various industries. This watershed moment is beginning to highlight the spectrum of harassment and abuse – from micro aggressions to rape – that men in powerful positions, in particular, have committed against those with less power.
And this power dynamic is critical. It is critical because power can be overt or subtle, felt in an instant or drawn out. The power of those who have versus those who do not. The power of those with the louder voice, or simply a voice at a decision-making table. Reframed a little differently, the choices we make can be heavily influenced by the power we perceive we have or do not. These dynamics are important for taking a more critical look at abuse on a spectrum, where one’s ability to choose how s/he labors is often marked along the way with constrained choices. At the end of this spectrum is human trafficking, where choices are exclusively made by the exploiter(s) over how one labors. Thus, human trafficking is often the ultimate abuse of power.
How We Will Upend Trafficking Together
Too frequently, media headlines or blockbuster films paint the picture of human trafficking to look like an obvious villain or sophisticated organized crime network. At a local level, these are not typically the circumstances, and LCHT is working to paint a better picture. Our overall vision for 2018 is to advance our state’s response using sound data informed by survivor voices. A few things I’m particularly excited for:
- Partnering with Denver-area hospitals to tailor national training curricula for local trainings and developing protocols
- Working with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) and child placement agencies to train on human trafficking as a form of child abuse (officially law January 1, 2017 in Colorado) and share community resources available to support their response
- Updating our original research study, the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking, at its five-year mark to measure strengths and gaps toward a comprehensive statewide response
The Power of our Collective Philanthropy
The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is interested in both the minutia and the bigger, global picture. We want to pursue promising practices based on data versus assumptions of what we think communities need. We want other states to learn from Colorado and share our good work. We want to partner with survivors at all touch points of our work to inform decision-makers with these important and often left-out voices.
#GivingTuesday is not a day to simply recognize the many global injustices that exist. It is a day to celebrate the power of our individual and collective philanthropy. We give our hard-earned money to support causes we care about, organizations that inspire us, and approaches we believe in. Today we have the opportunity to advance a better world. So join me and make your #GivingTuesday gift! Let’s upend human trafficking…together.