If you use any form of social media, you might have seen pictures of people with red X’s on their hands. I was one of those people. Why, might you ask, do people go around decorating their skin with potentially toxic substances? Because January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and today in particular is dedicated to the End It Movement.
Today, slavery is something most people hear about in history class, or maybe in a novel with a historical setting. But what most people don’t realize—or don’t want to think about—is that slavery still exists. The most rampant form is prostitution, but organ harvesting is a thing, too.
As a human being, especially one with access to social media, we all have certain platforms. We have voices that can be used for good or evil. However, our voices can only be heard by a small amount of people. What, then, can we do to raise awareness about things like human trafficking?
That’s where my job comes in. People love entertainment. Books, movies, music—you name it, people love it. The thing about entertainment is that it changes people’s mindsets. Older TV shows such as The Dick van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show depicted families getting along, helping each other, and learning life lessons. Today? The media is full of drugs, alcohol, violence, promiscuity, and profanity. It’s hard for me to find a YA book at the library that’s free from curse words or relationships that go a little too far.
But to the same extent that media can bring down today’s culture, it can lift it back up.
Growing up, I loved the Geronimo Stilton books. There were 65 books in the original series, and an additional 12 in spin-off series like the time travel graphic novels, and I read every one I could get my hands on from our local library. Recently, Geronimo has starred in a cartoon Netflix series. I’ll admit to watching an episode or three with my sister, and I’ve noticed that most episodes end with the villain going to jail. This teaches children that crime is bad, and that those who commit crimes deserve punishment.
Entertainment can also be used to raise awareness of things. Take For King & Country, one of my favorite bands, and their movie Priceless. It raises awareness for human trafficking in a heart-wrenching way that will affect people more than a slogan, poster, or internet campaign will.
I, personally, can only do so much to raise awareness for things like this—especially since most of my books have a historical setting. But I can still do a little bit. Have you read the first chapter of Where the Clouds Catch Fire (which you can access by clicking HERE)? Have you wondered what happened to Alynn’s mother? She was kidnapped. She was sold just like the girls in Priceless, and just like so many people are today.
It’s for people like Alynn’s mother that we unite today. It’s for the people—mostly women, mostly children—who are forced into some form of slavery. And it’s for those people that I take my stand, that I take the platform my job and my God have given me, and I use it for good instead of evil. And you can do the same thing.
What can you do to raise awareness about something like human trafficking? Have you joined the End It Movement? Is there another step you can take, like volunteering at a soup kitchen or spending time with at-risk kids, to make the world a better place? Tell me about it in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader—and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.