by Melissa Eick, JD
Co-founder, Director of Communications & Development, The Dragonfly Home
First published at The Dragonfly Home
Do you have a fire burning in your heart to fight human trafficking, but you don’t know where to start? You’re not alone!
The hardest thing about getting involved in the fight to end human trafficking is knowing where to start. Statistics about human trafficking estimate that anywhere from 25 to 40 million people are being trafficked globally, every single day. Where do you even begin to make a difference with massive numbers like that? On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30th, we recognize that human beings are being sold for sex and labor in every nation of the world. If you’re ready to take action to end this reprehensible practice, I recommend shrinking down your scope down a bit from the entire world to your personal life.
What does your life look like at this moment and how could you get involved in fighting human trafficking using what you already have or you’re already doing every day?
When I took my very first steps getting involved in anti-human trafficking efforts in 2013, I started researching ways I could help trafficked people. This was toward the beginning of the movement to end human trafficking, and at that point I’d mostly learned about trafficking internationally. I didn’t know yet that trafficking was prevalent right where I was living at the time in Tulsa, Oklahoma (I was about to find out—I just didn’t know it yet!).
I wasn’t sure how to start. I couldn’t donate thousands of dollars, I couldn’t bend the ears of VIPs, and I didn’t know yet where to volunteer. But I didn’t give up. I kept searching. Finally, the idea struck! An organization’s website suggested sending encouraging cards to trafficking victim-survivors they served in Eastern Europe.
I had taken actual classes in making fancy greeting cards when I was in middle school (#humblebrag), so yeah—if there was one thing I could do at that moment, it was crafting.
I gathered all my crafting supplies. Then I invited about twelve women to my apartment who brought all their crafting supplies. It was a smorgasbord of glitter, patterned papers, funky scissors, and every color of marker imaginable. It was glorious. That night, we created almost 90 hand-crafted cards and wrote encouraging messages to trafficking victim-survivors. The next day, I divided up the cards into thirds and sent packages to Greece, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.
It felt like the very least I could do, but though I didn’t know it yet, that card-making party was my first step in getting to where I am at Dragonfly, working in this field full time for nearly a decade.
As I got further involved, I found more ways to use aspects of my life to make a difference. I’m a lawyer, so that was certainly something. I also had years of public speaking, writing, and fundraising experience that came in handy. Nearly ten years later, you know what? I still use my crafting and card-making skills from time to time.
We all contain multitudes that we can contribute to the fight to end human trafficking, but sometimes we have to take that first step before we start to uncover all we have to offer.
Now let’s talk about you! Think about where you are in life right now and how we can leverage. What resources do you have to contribute? Time? Professional skills? Hobbies? Money? Friends you can rally? Take a moment on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to consider how you can use what you have available in your life right in this moment to get involved!
If you’d like a few ideas of how to get started helping human trafficking victim-survivors we serve at Dragonfly, I’m very happy to oblige!
My top three suggestions:
1. Volunteer at Dragonfly’s Human Trafficking Transition Home! If you have consistent availability on a weekly basis, consider volunteering with the women and children staying in our soon-to-open Human Trafficking Transition Home in Oklahoma City! Get the details HERE.
2. Join our Community Outreach Team! Whether you’d like to raise awareness of human trafficking by working at an informational booth or public speaking, this is a great opportunity! This is for people who are consistently in the Oklahoma City area. Get the info HERE.
3. Join Freedom Flight Crew by giving any amount every month! Give your best amount monthly! Whether it’s $10, $100, or $1000, you’ll join a powerful group of Dragonfly champions who form the foundation of our support every month! Find out more HERE.
BONUS IDEA: Sponsor our 7thAnnual Crown of Beauty Gala! For anywhere from $500 to $20,000, you can become a sponsor through your business or organization, as a family or an individual! Sponsors receive tickets to the event and various levels of marketing benefits, like social media shout-outs and signage at the event. Check out our Gala HERE and Sponsorship Info HERE.