January is Anti-Trafficking Awareness Month

Happy new year, folks! January is recognized as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month”, and Elan and I advocate for it with our own personal twist on the name. It makes sense that the first month of the year, symbolic of new beginnings, is also symbolic of how we need to educate ourselves on issues such as sexual violence that require more people-power in its awareness efforts. Human trafficking tends to be perceived as an issue with a gendered lens that limits people’s understanding of it and their ability to help. While it is statistically true that most victims of human trafficking are female, males and LGBT individuals tend not to be mentioned and are then disregarded in the research. This unequal attention cannot be taken lightly because in order to instigate practical change to combat sexual violence, our efforts must be unified and take an intersectional approach to see how certain facets of a person’s life affect him/her/hir.

While the focus of this blog’s past entries has been on male victims of human trafficking, it will soon feature posts on female perpetrators of human trafficking. This shift in gender perspective does not mean complete abandonment of interest in male victims of trafficking, but it is just a prioritized focus in my personal research. There’s no better way for me to hold myself accountable to blogging deadlines than by publicly declaring I shall update this blog once a week with progress on my research project. I’ll look like Dee Dee (below), typing away furiously and with determination. And you, dear reader, are always free to challenge the opinions expressed on this blog.

 TONIGHT at 8pm: Join anti-trafficking organization Restore One for their first Twitter chat, #4BoysChat. Tonight’s topic is on the question of, “Why is there a lack of awareness for male sex trafficking?”

Hello from Nelli & Eli!

Welcome to The Anti-Trafficking Independence Project – A.T.I.P. for short. This is Nelli and Eli, your resident bloggers.

We started this blog due to our mutual passion on human trafficking and the desire to create a non-profit organization in the future. We are currently college students attending Pace University in New York City, though we both have different majors. Eli is an Accounting Major, while Nelli is a Political Science & Women’s Gender Studies Major. Though we study completely different things, what we’re learning now will help us create our future non-profit organization.

Why the interest in human trafficking? Unknown to many, human trafficking is one of the world’s most complex and misunderstood issues. It is slavery that still happens in the United States where its history textbooks claim that “slavery was abolished”. Obviously, textbook writers need to double check their facts. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry (just behind drug trafficking). Incidentally, the United States is the third largest destination country in the world for human trafficking (Jones). Women, children, and men are treated inhumanely and sold between borders to fulfill their handler’s money deals. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates it’s a $32 billion industry, with half coming from industrialized countries.

We were just as shocked as you were upon discovering those basic facts. From there, we were prompted to learn more and discover the injustices and myths that plagued human trafficking.

And that’s where this blog comes in – as an outlet to share information with you and to foster awareness on human trafficking. Our focus is human trafficking in the United States. We don’t identify ourselves as experts on human trafficking, but rather as anti-trafficking advocates. Moreover, we are not affiliated with any organizations; hence the “independence” component of our blog name.

We hope you’ll stick with us for the journey, or that you’ll check in from time to time. Let us know what you think by commenting on our blog posts – we would be love to hear from you.

– Nelli & Eli

Jones, Samuel Vincent. “The Invisible Man: The Conscious Neglect Of Men And Boys In The War On Human Trafficking.” Utah Law Review 2010.4 (2010): 1143-1188. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.