For about ten months I’ve been thinking about human trafficking a lot. I went to a conference last December where a woman named Amy Seiffert told us she was wearing the same, simple gray dress every day for six months for the cause of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking.
For any of you who don’t know, human trafficking is when men, women, or children are forced into labor (aka slavery), usually involving sexual exploitation. The trafficking of women in the United States is more prevalent than most people realize, and in other parts of the world the numbers are even more sickening. In fact, the number of slaves in the world right now is far more than any other time in history.
Here are just some quick facts from some websites (that you should explore)
- About 80% of trafficking victims are women and children
- An estimated 200,000 children in America are at high risk for being trafficked
- Trafficking is implemented through threats of kidnapping, violence, and deception
- Traffickers often target children because of the high demand for them
- A trafficker can receive up to 2,000% profit from a girl trafficked for sex. Then, “The pimp can often turn around and sell her again for a greater price because he has trained her and broken her spirit, which saves future buyers the hassle.”
Did you hear that? A woman who has been utterly defeated and destroyed to the point that she has come to accept her life of “service” to disgusting, wicked men is valued most highly in the twisted world of human trafficking.
Whew. So. Let me calm down.
At first Seiffert’s plan didn’t make sense to me. How does a person wearing the same dress every day save the lives of anybody? But now I think the dress serves two purposes: it causes somewhat of a stir. Even if I wasn’t blogging about it, I’m sure people would notice I was wearing the same dress every day. They would then ask me about it. I would then tell them all they need to know about human trafficking, and even encourage them to donate to a cause. The second purpose of the dress is as a symbol. It reminds me of the women who are hurting, and in a way connects me to them. Every time I put it on I can don some of the sorrow they feel by remembering to be empathetic. I care about them. I will pray for them. And if any trafficked women hears about the other women who have been doing these One Dress projects, I hope that they feel loved and important to somebody.
So that’s why I’m wearing the same, simple, navy blue dress for the season of fall (and I might go till Christmas). Today is day 2, so I took a day to think about it and now a day to get the word out. I’m hoping to do something to spark a chapter of the International Justice Mission at Ohio University before fall quarter ends, and this dress will help me keep my goal in mind.
So if any of you reading this feel compassionate and capable, consider donating to IJM to join them in their fight against modern-day slavery. I’ll hopefully be posting more about IJM soon, so stay posted.