Human trafficking is a widespread phenomenon that effects nearly every country in the world, the U.S. included. Human trafficking is the illegal buying and selling of people for the purposes of reproductive slavery, forced labor and sexual mistreatment. In essence, this definition adheres to that of slavery
There are four rankings that measure the severity of human trafficking throughout the world. Tier 1 is the highest and suggests that these countries acknowledge and abide by the rules put forth by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Tier 2 contains those countries that have yet to fulfill the requirements of the TVPA, but they are significantly working toward the goal. Tier 2 is comprised of countries that are pursuing a tier 2 rating and will be monitored for a year before a decision is made on their standing. Tier 3, the lowest tier, is made up of countries that do not comply with the TVPA and make no efforts to do so.
The U.S. is classified as a Tier 1 country. Many of the Tier 3 countries are located in Africa and the Middle East. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan are just a few countries out of the many that are classified as Tier 3.
Emily Fulker, a freshman at Shippensburg University, first heard about the international crisis of human trafficking while attending Sunday school at her church. Emily has always had an interest in learning about the Underground Railroad and slavery in the 1800s. Had she been alive during that time period, she said she would have felt compelled to help those who were negatively affected by slavery.
After completing the Sunday school session in which she first learned about human trafficking, Fulker felt obligated to do something to help those people fighting against human trafficking.
She said, “I was immediately interested and wanted to help somehow. Anytime I hear about human trafficking, I get this feeling. It’s like my heart starts beating faster, and I know that God has given me a passion to help.”
Fulker and her friends began brainstorming ways that they could raise awareness about human trafficking while also raising money to contribute to organizations fighting to put an end to it. By selling T-shirts, they decided they could reach both of their goals.
Fulker said that every person who is aware of the problem is one more person capable of putting an end to it. She hopes that raising awareness about human trafficking will get more people to realize how widespread the problem really is and can potentially stop it if they happen to come across it throughout their lives.
“Human trafficking affects all of us, whether we realize it or not, and our choices can help fuel it. Many products made overseas are produced with slave labor, and things like pornography directly fuel the sex trafficking industry,” she said.
Fulker is selling T-shirts for $13. All of the proceeds will be given to the International Justice Mission, which is an organization that rescues victims of human trafficking. The shirts are available in sizes small, medium, large and extra-large.
The front of the shirts say, “Each year, 2 million children are forced into prostitution. Twenty-seven million people are held as slaves. What are you going to do about it?”
There is also a bible verse printed on the back of the shirts.
Anyone interested in purchasing a shirt in order to raise awareness and contribute money to the IJM should contact Fulker at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook page, “Buy Shirts to Free Modern-Day Slaves.”