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What Can One Person Do? Advice from Siddharth Kara

SIDDHARTH KARA is a senior fellow and lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (2008) and Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia (2012), both from Columbia University Press.

In his latest book, Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective, Kara recommends seven steps that any individual can take to contribute to anti-slavery efforts. With permission from the publisher, UNHS shares these steps to encourage members of our community to take action against human trafficking and modern slavery in their individual capacity. Find Kara's Seven Steps below:


"When faced with powerful and deeply entrenched forces that promotes slavery around the world, it can seem daunting to any single person to contemplate how they can contribute to meaningful efforts to eradicate these crimes. There are at least seven steps any individual can take today to join the fight against slavery:

"1. Learn about the issue: Read Siddharth Kara and other experts' books on modern slavery and share them with others who are interested in learning more about slavery.

"2. Financial support: Numerous NGOs around the world are working assiduously with insufficient resources to address various aspect of slavery, from prevention to survivor empowerment and everything in between. Any financial or volunteer support you can offer is of tremendous benefit to them.

"3. Contact lawmakers: Demand that your lawmakers do more to ensure that corporations do their part to certify that their supply chains are not tainted by slavery or child labour. Demand also that they promote policy efforts that are most likely to rid the world of sex trafficking - attack all facets of demand aggressively. Finally, demand that your government enacts and enforces a no-slavery policy in all its procurement, contracting, and purchasing of goods and services.

"4. Slavery-free institutions: Demand that your city, state, country, company, university, high school, or any other major purchaser of goods takes every necessary step to become "slavery free". For example, universities can ensure that all food, garments, and other products they purchase are untainted by any form of slavery or child labour, all the way down the supply chain. Cities, counties, and other municipalities can all do the same. I believe that every university in the world should create a scholarship so that at least one survivor of slavery each year can receive a full education.

"5. Contact corporations: Any company that sources raw materials or low-wage labour anywhere in the world must be pressured to investigate and certify that its supply chains are free of slave labour or other severe forms of labour exploitation. Consumers must also demand that companies whose products they purchase ensure that this kind of investigation and certification becomes a regular aspect of their operating models.

"6. Community vigilance: Organise yourselves into anti-slavery vigilance committees. Work with local NGOs and law enforcement to identify slavery cases and to promote the just and full empowerment of survivors. Push relentlessly for the effective prosecution of exploiters. Follow the guidance of NGOs on how you can be most helpful because they have great experience in this area.

"7. Media and technology: Use the power of social media to contribute to the fight against slavery. You can use these tools to spread awareness, organise community efforts and protest campaigns, or pressure lawmakers and law enforcement to do more. Make videos or documentaries that educate others on the issue; use GPS tagging on your mobile devices to record areas in which you feel slaves might be exploited, then report these areas to NGOs or reliable law enforcement. Find other creative ways to fight back against slavery by using all forms of media and technology tools.

"If you take some or all of these steps, we will be much closer to creating an environment in which slavery can no longer exist."

*The above text is printed with the permission of the author and publisher, and is an excerpt from Siddharth Kara's most recent book, Modern Slavery: a Global Perspective, copyright 2017 by Columbia University Press.

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