You may be curious why people wear a red “X” on their hands today. The red “X” is worn today as part of the End It Movement to raise awareness on the many forms of slavery that not only exist today, but is growing. In 2014, 27 million people were in slavery. Today, an estimated 40 million people in 167 countries are victims of modern-day slavery.
Those who mark their hands on February 22nd are encouraged to share photos of their red “X” on social media to help further shine a light on the problem.
But what is “Modern-Day Slavery?” The term is broad but encompasses many forms, including:
- Bond/Debt Slavery – Forced work to pay off a debt; often continuing long after the debt has been repaid, even into the next generation.
- Child Slavery – Worldwide, 1 in 4 victims are children, forced into physical labor, domestic slavery, fighters in armed conflict, sexual abuse, child marriage and other illicit activities.
- Human Trafficking – trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, or harvesting of organs.
Forty million people are trapped in these horrific conditions today.
The number is too large to even visualize. Let’s just try to wrap our heads around the enormity of 40,000,000 ...
What’s equal to around 40 million people?
X The entire population of California doesn’t total 40 million people. You’d
have to throw in Seattle’s population to reach that.
X It is the entire population of Canada, plus everyone in Los Angeles! If you’ve
ever been stuck in L.A. traffic, picture that mess. Then add a huge COUNTRY.
X Let’s say you’re at the Super Bowl with 73,000 others in a sold out crowd. Go back the next day with a totally different crowd. Repeat this with another new crowd of strangers every… single… day… For 548 days… A new person in every one of those seats, day after day, for 1.5 years, all trapped in a form of slavery.
The numbers are as mind-blowing and incomprehensible as the crimes. Yet so many remain unaware that slavery even exists today. In fact, relatively few know of the fight going on around them.
It’s happening right here, in your backyard. Today. In factories, mines, street corners, homes and brothels. Many consider it a problem that happens “over there,” but guess what? It’s hidden in the downstairs room of an “Adult” store, where 40 men a day rape a young girl. 40! Why? So her greedy stepfather can make some big money. Where? In an ordinary mid-western, “Bible-belt” city right here in the US!! Trafficked in her own home, by her stepfather!
This is not somebody else’s problem.
A member of our own Trades of Hope home team shared a story just last week:
A relative of hers works for a major airline. She noticed 2 underage girls traveling together to a big city with one-way tickets. Thankfully, this airline trains its agents to recognize signs of trafficking. The agent stalled the girls with small talk while the airline investigated... Long story, short: the tickets were bought with a stolen credit card by a man who met the girls online. He lured them away from their parents; not hard to do when you prey upon vulnerable teens for a living. Promises of a free trip from their basic small town to the excitement of a big city, to make money as glamorous models was an easy sell.
This is happening right under our noses. This isn’t a story overheard at a rally in some big city with celebrity guest speakers and media coverage. This is a story heard first-hand and shared around a lunchroom table by a coworker. On a random Wednesday.
More people need to be aware of the atrocities happening all around them. But awareness is only the beginning!
- We need to tell others.
- We need to take action.
- We need to stand up for injustice.
- We need to end it.
Drawing a red “X” on your hand today is one way to raise awareness. There are other ways you can have a direct impact on the lives of slavery victims. Every day of the year.
Trades of Hope is empowering women out of poverty around the world. We currently work with over 13,000 artisans in 17 countries to help them rise out of desperate situations. For example:
We partner with artisans in Nepal, where over 10,000 women and girls are trafficked each year into the international sex trade, banished to brothels in India and around the world. We work with these groups in Nepal to sell their handmade products for a fair wage. The artisans are provided with education, clothing and household allowances, low-interest loans, seminars on health, nutrition and women's rights by participating in this group. Through creating these products these women gain self-esteem and are realizing their worth; they are becoming less vulnerable to trafficking.
Studies show that for every woman empowered out of poverty, she brings with her an average of 3.5 family members. In our artisans’ communities, 42,890 people were helped in 2017. Trades of Hope believes that by empowering these women, generational changes are taking place among the lives of the artisans and their communities in Nepal!
Trades of Hope began partnering with a new artisan group in rural Asia last year, where women often fall prey to sex trafficking just to support their families. This artisan group is rescuing women out of the brothels and providing healthy work and rehabilitation in a supportive environment. The holistic care the women are given provides opportunities for vocational training, healthcare, shelter, counseling, and education grants for the women and their children. Through community outreach programs, a path for hope and restoration has been given to empower these women towards a joyful future.
None of this is possible without women like you. The women who sell these and other artisans’ handcrafted products through Trades of Hope are called “Compassionate Entrepreneurs,” or, “CEs.” Over 6,000 CEs are changing lives daily. Each piece a CE sells symbolizes hope and represents that artisan rising out of poverty. Just as important, every time the CE shares a beautiful catalog with someone, they raise awareness and show others a way they can help create change for people in poverty and slavery. Real, lasting change.
Forty million is unacceptable. X
If you’re willing to step up and take a stand for those around the world suffering in poverty and forms of slavery, you have the power to do something about it. You can help these women become the heroes of their own stories by empowering them.
Learn more about becoming a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope by clicking here: