If you want to change legislation, be an advocate. There are several bills currently floating around Congress that would help make strides toward alleviating trafficking. Bipartisan House and Senate versions of the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (H.R. 1732 and S. 1823) would help improve state child welfare systems in order to better protect children. You can urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor this legislation by adding your name to the UNICEF sponsored message.

Another bill, H.R. 3344, the Fraudulent Overseas Recruitment and Trafficking Elimination Act of 2013, would help stop recruiters from exploiting overseas workers. These recruiters lure immigrants with jobs that don’t exist or that are drastically different than what they advertise, then lock them into abusive contracts. You can learn more about H.R. 3344 here

If you’ve got some spare time, volunteer. This may be one of the most important things we can do, because it helps prevent trafficking before it starts. According to Polaris Project, traffickers often prey on those who lack employment opportunities, have an unstable home life or have a history of sexual abuse. Consider getting involved in programs like The Boys and Girls Club, organizations that reach out to children in crisis and provide them with a safe place to learn and grow. Or, help out at a local food bank, homeless shelter or school to get to know and support families in crisis in your community.  

If you’ve got some spare change, give: There are so many organizations to give to in support of ending human trafficking. Not For Sale, Polaris Project, The A21 Campaign, End Slavery Now, and Stop The Traffik are all organizations dedicated to ending trafficking. If you want to stay local, research and find organizations in your city. If you’re hesitant to give without knowing more about where your money is going, use Charity Navigator to research before you donate.

If you think someone is involved in trafficking, report it. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is has national, toll-free hotline (1-888-373-7888) available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in country, 24/7.

If you’re not sure why this is a big deal, keep learning. Human trafficking takes on many forms, not just the sex trafficking that is notorious at the Super Bowl. Visit www.slaveryfootprint.org and find out how many exploited people work for you (that’s right, work for you). Knowing the connection between your purchases and forced labor is often the wake-up call needed to change habits and make a difference.

It may seem like we can’t change anything when it comes to major issues like trafficking, but that’s just not true. If everyone did one thing in an effort to stop injustices like trafficking, imagine the difference we could make.

Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com. 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia (originally posted by section125, Flickr)