January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York joined 29 Jewish organizations around the country to issue a statement of guiding values on ending human trafficking—also known as modern-day slavery—throughout the U.S. and abroad.
For the final eight days of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month we invite you to read our series of blog posts highlighting each of the Jewish values included in the statement and how they motivate us to work toward the end of slavery and human trafficking.
Value 1. Every human being is deserving of respect and dignity.
We believe that each and every one of us is made in the image of G-d —B’tselem Elohim. All workers in all jobs, whether American citizens, foreign nationals, or stateless people, must be treated with dignity and respect, and protected from unsafe and exploitative working conditions.
by Stephanie Blumenkranz
Do you walk around the city on the phone or with headphones in your ears, looking directly in front of you? I do. I am unaware of the myriad people and advertisements that float by me. This is ironic considering I often wonder what I can do to help the many people in my city who are in need. Then I remember, the first step is to look at those who are around me. And, I can’t just look, I have to learn to see…
Those who are not treated with dignity and respect often look just like you and me. They may not wear a sign that says “please help me” or have the ability to shout out that they are being trafficked. We must look deeper. We must know the signs. Polaris Project, a leader in the global fight to end modern slavery, shares on their website common signs of human slavery: https://polarisproject.org/recognize-signs.
Some of the signs are as subtle as a person having only a few possessions, or having an inability to clarify where they are staying. We cannot make assumptions about people we see and meet. To advocate to end human trafficking, be alert and ask questions if you feel it is safe. You are also strongly encouraged to call the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).