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The A21 Campaign- Bodies Are Not Commodities

Written by Beatriz Garay, Staff Writer

I began following the A21 campaign just a few months ago. In case you have never heard of this organization, here is their mission statement: “A21 exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. We are a non-profit organization who believes that together, we can end human trafficking.”
Many people are blinded by all of the technological advances and discussions surrounding #LoveWins during the past few years and do not realize that slavery still exists in the 21st century. Not entirely in the form of forced labor work, but a more traumatizing one – human sex trafficking.
A21 was founded in order to bring awareness to the people of today’s world that human trafficking still occurs and is a form of “modern-day slavery”. Its website consists of an enormous amount of basic information that will help enlighten one’s mind about the true colors of human trafficking. The rest of this article will consist of my own synopsis and informational extracts of a curriculum that you can download (for free) from their website if you are interested in further educating yourself, or others, about the matter.
BODIES ARE NOT COMMODITIES: An A21 Curriculum

You may ask yourself, “Well, what is human trafficking?” I define human trafficking to be the illegal selling and purchasing of a person, male or female, for the purpose of sexual slavery or exploitation and/or forced labor. There are five main forms of modern-day slavery: Sex Trafficking, Forced Labor, Involuntary Domestic Servitude, Child Soldiers and Bonded Labor.

Before I continue, I would like to clarify a crucial point in understanding the realms of human trafficking. A victim will never voluntarily choose to be victimized. Often times, in cases of rape or trafficking, people automatically assume that the victim did something to provoke or seduce the perpetrator, leading to his/her victimization and that they are at fault. The victim can never be blamed for what has occurred to him/her. Now, when thinking about victims, remember not to have an instantaneous negative bias toward them. The victim did not choose to be raped, the victim did not choose to be sold off to a stranger to become a sex slave. At least, not voluntarily.

Being familiar with vocabulary that coincides with human trafficking will make understanding it a lot easier. Here are a few of A21’s select vocabulary words:

ABOLITIONIST – A person who takes action to abolish (end) slavery
COMMODITY – An economic good or product that can be bought and sold
HUMAN RIGHTS – Legal, social, and ethical principles of freedom for all human beings
INJUSTICE – Violation of the rights of a person; unfair act
LIBERTY – Freedom of choice from captivity
SLAVERY – The illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking

Here are a series of questions to reflect on. Feel free to leave your responses and thoughts on ending human trafficking.

Is a victim of sex trafficking at fault?
Why don’t authorities prioritize preventing human trafficking?
What actions can you take when/if you encounter a victim?
What do you believe are some methods traffickers use to coerce victims?
How effective are social medias when talking about this topic and trending hashtags like #LoveWins and #EndItMovement
How can we put an end to human trafficking?

*For more information on specific campaign details check out this link.

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