A few days ago, Free the Slaves posted a story from IndiaTimes.com to social media. It was about Air India ground staff being arrested for trafficking Nepalese women to Dubai. The organisation wrote:

One of the worst fears of human rights organisations – that the recent#Nepal #earthquake would lead to massive #humantrafficking from the country – seems to be coming true. 

In the comments below the Free the Slaves post, some readers expressed despair because of their desire, as “average people,” to get involved “helping victims or working to eliminate” human trafficking but having little information for how they might make a positive difference. There are ways the public can contribute to assisting people who may fall victim to human trafficking. One way is to contribute to organisations that work towards alleviating the poverty that makes people vulnerable to human trafficking, through building sustainable livelihoods. These organisations also provide humanitarian relief when disasters like the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th occur.

In Nepal, organisations like OxfamWorld VisonCare, and others have been working for years to address the roots of poverty and vulnerability, and their impacts. Free the Slaves has community-based projects in Nepal to educate people about their rights and how to protect themselves from becoming victims of human trafficking.

Those who want to help can do their own research to identify which organisations they feel comfortable supporting financially (being careful to choose those that approach development or humanitarian assistance in a way that does not inadvertently harm the intended recipients, and that produces positive results). They make monthly donations to help the organisation carry out its work to empower vulnerable individuals, enable them to tackle poverty, and help them become less vulnerable to trafficking and slavery.

Beyond financial support, one can share information with others. Organisations like World Vision CanadaChild Soldiers InitiativeAga Khan Foundation, and others recruit passionate volunteers to act as ambassadors for them within their own communities and circles of influence–to provide information and teach the public what they can do to help. For example, World Vision Canada has carried out a number of advocacy campaigns over the past couple of years, generating awareness about the presence of the worst forms of child labour in the products we consume every day, and has created several actions the public can take to address it. You can learn more about them on the No Child for Sale website.

It’s easy to feel helpless when we regularly hear news about human suffering. However, there are ways to become part of the support system that helps people rise above the circumstances that make them especially vulnerable to human trafficking and other dangers. We must harness the sorrow we feel about these issues so it becomes the impetus for action, rather than the reason for continuing despair.

Header image:  ©saiyood / iStock

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