If I am honest I was expecting this to be a relatively easy blog to write. I expected to just do my research and then sit down with a cup of tea to write about what I have learned. However, A21’s work is so extensive, their commitment so great and their vision of freedom so inclusive that I have found myself completely submerged in their website, clicking from one link to the next, eating up their information and searching for more. What an organisation! And I don’t even have a cup of tea!
So, who and what exactly is A21? They are an NGO committed to ending human trafficking. It’s ethos is one of love and determination and they call us all to stand with them and use our voices to set the millions of slaves in our world free. Above all else it stands for liberty, the definition of which is “the state of being free”.
I love the opening of their “Who We Are” section. They are not just about the statistics or the data encapsulating human trafficking, they are about “the one”. The individual person behind each and every story. I think even if there were only a handful of slaves in the world this organisation would still exist because for the them one slave alone is one too many. I applaud their missions vision and find it a truly refreshing perspective in todays modern world. For most of us the many is what is important. How many followers we have, how many friends we have on Facebook, how many likes we receive from a post. I don’t know about you but there are times when I set store by this. The result of this is more often than not negative and unhelpful because we lose sight. We lose sight of the people, of the faces, of the stories. We need more of us to remember that its “the one” that makes our world rich in colour and unique in diversity.
The importance of A21’s vision for me is also the biblical path that is follows. Jesus was about the one lost sheep, the one lost coin and the one lost son (Luke 15). He would still have come to earth to die on the cross even if the outcome was that only one life was saved. He looks into each individuals life and cares about every single bit of it.
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ Luke 15 v 3-6
A21 works in 11 different countries around the world, raising awareness for the problem of human trafficking, educating the world on what to be looking out for, encouraging others to participate in the campaign to end the fight of human trafficking whilst also physically working to save victims and survivors.
Their solution (which can be found under “Our Solution” on their website) is Reach, Rescue and Restore and each on of these is important in its own way.
“Reach” is about preventing the problem, through campaigns and educating people about the problem so that as a world we are looking out for the problem and choosing to take action against it.
“Rescue” is crucial because this is about literally finding the victims of trafficking and bringing them to safety. Rescue is a very hard part of the fight against trafficking as only 1% of victims are ever rescued which is a hard statistic to face. However, A21 are very determined that human trafficking can be stopped and will be stopped, we just all need to be helping in our own small way.
“Restore” is when a victim becomes a survivor and enters a new life after being trafficked. This is a crucial stage of rescue as victims have had their whole lives destroyed by their abuse and equipping them for the future is vital. One area that A21 work in this regard is through their project “Liberty”. Through “Liberty” A21 hires survivors to knit scarves that are then sold. This project is about restoring survivors dignity, validating their self worth, teaching them a skill and allowing them independence. The Liberty scarves are incredibly beautiful and cost only £36. Please click the link to view and purchase a scarf and be part of this freedom movement: Liberty
There are so many different ways in which you can get involved with A21, from giving and fundraising, to joining in their Walk To Freedom in October 2018, to being part of an A Team (educating, campaigning and leading) or by using your place of work to become a supporter of A21. There are other volunteering opportunities too and I cannot encourage you enough to check out their website and investigate all of these options. It is an exciting opportunity and an amazing movement to be part of it.
Please click the links below to be redirected to your area of interest on the A21 website:
To learn more about human trafficking from A21, what it looks like and how it exists then please click here