The 7 Most Influential Actions You Took to End Slavery in 2009

Anti-trafficking efforts had a number of heroes in 2009, and I’m here to celebrate one in particular: you. I’m officially nominating you as one of the greatest changemakers and abolitionists of 2009. As a community activist, you spent this past year creating real change and getting closer, step by step, to ending human trafficking. Whether it was preventing a major credit card company from financing women like cars, reporting suspicions of human trafficking, or supporting a trafficked girl sentenced to life in prison without parole, you made 2009 a lot freer for a lot of people. So give yourself a pat on the back, and take a look at the 7 most influential actions you took to end human trafficking this year:

1. You asked Diner’s Club to stop financing mail order brides, and they did. When you learned that a Diner’s Club franchise in Singapore was financing women to be sold as mail order brides, over 1000 of you wrote to the company. You told them you were worried that, because of the high rates of human trafficking in the mail order bride industry, their company might be supporting slavery. And you pointed out that treating women like objects is demeaning and wrong. Diner’s Club listened to your concerns and ended their mail order bride promotion days after you began writing in.

2. You supported Fair Trade cocoa. Over 2300 of you have written to Hershey to demand that they start purchasing Fair Trade cocoa to reduce the rampant child slavery in the cocoa industry. Sadly, Hershey hasn’t come around yet. But your demand for Fair Trade cocoa has influenced Cadbury, Kraft, Mars, and Nestle — to varying degrees — to make a greater commitment to buying and using Fair Trade cocoa. You voice has been and will continue to be crucial in showing chocolate companies that consumers demand Fair Trade options.

3. You agreed to report human trafficking when you get suspicious. Every day, the National Human Trafficking Hotline takes calls from people like you who see something suspicious and report it. These calls help find human trafficking victims, arrest perpetrators, and save lives. If you suspect a person is being held against their will, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888, or email at The hotline is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and is confidential.

4. You asked Choice Hotels to take a stand against child prostitution, and they heard you. Over 3000 of you wrote to Choice Hotels to ask them, in the wake of a child prostitution tragedy at one of their properties, to take a proactive stand against child prostitution at their hotels. They heard your concerns and responded by agreeing to work with leading child protection organization ECPAT to develop a strategy. Go Choice Hotels! We’ll keep you posted as to the results of those talks.

5. You asked Congress to fund more services for human trafficking victims. You know that human trafficking victims need help recovering from their ordeal, so over 5000 of you wrote in to encourage Congress to fund those services. Congress increased funding for human trafficking victims’ services by 25% to 50%, bumps that were previously unheard of. You helped make sure that, even in a time of recession, human trafficking victims have the resources they need to overcome slavery.

6. You supported human trafficking victim Sarah Kruzan. Sarah Kruzan is a victim of human trafficking who killed her pimp at age 16 to escape a lifetime of sexual slavery. She was sentenced to life without parole, giving her no hope for the future. So far, over 7000 of you have written letters in support of Sarah. I’ve spoken with her lawyer, who is heartened by the public support for Sarah’s case and promises to let me know if and when they need grassroots support mobilized. Thank you for supporting Sarah Kruzan and speaking out against the injustice she is living through.

7. You told Chipotle to give farm workers a fair wage and prevent slavery, and they did. Over 600 of you sent messages to Chipotle asking them to increase farm worker pay by a mere penny a pound. They responded with a mature explanation of the complexities of the situation and a promise to work harder to resolve it. Soon after, once they convinced the East Coast Growers and Packers company to pass the extra wages on to the workers, Chipotle began paying farm workers an extra penny a pound. They have also agreed to supply chain transparency and a code of conduct to prevent slavery.

Thank you for all your hard work this year! Let’s make 2010 even more-action packed as we all work together to end human trafficking.


Published in: on December 24, 2009 at 7:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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