Social Media and Slavery: The Role of Social Media in the Anti-Human Trafficking Movement

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Social Media and Slavery: The Role of Social Media in the Anti-Human Trafficking Movement

Human trafficking. One of the most insidious and fastest-growing crimes in the world. Today, there are more slaves than at any other time in human history. This is a crime that operates in the shadows of society, as many victims go completely unnoticed and unheard. Social media has completely changed the face of the anti-human trafficking movement in recent years. Social media has greatly increased the ability of anti-human trafficking organizations to raise awareness and shine a light on the issue. This rapid spread of information has allowed these organizations to spread the truth of the horrors of the issue, rather than letting it continue on unnoticed, or even allowing false information to be shared.

One of the most notable movements that really took root in social media regarding this issue was the End It Movement. The End It Movement is a coalition of many different anti-human trafficking organizations created for the specific purpose of raising awareness and support for anti-trafficking efforts. The movement has been characterized by people putting a noticeable red “X” on the back of their hand and sharing a picture of this on their social media accounts, usually accompanied by a tag line such as “Are you in it to end it?”. This movement was one of the first widespread anti-trafficking campaigns that truly grabbed the public’s attention and shed light on the reality of human trafficking, not just worldwide, but often in their own backyards.

The End It Movement set a standard for anti-trafficking awareness, and other organizations capitalized on the base that movement created by adding their own movements to the overall “voice” for freedom. A current campaign that is proving successful is the #canyouseeme campaign by A21. This hashtag has accompanied numerous posts across various social media platforms that are focused on emphasizing how human trafficking can happen to anyone, anywhere. The hashtag has successfully led back to A21 and the video they recently released called “Can You See Me?”. The video displays a young girl going through her life and displaying signs of being a trafficking victim, but no one taking action to help. This video really focuses on the question “Can you see me, or do I just blend in to the background with everyone else?” This is being used to emphasize the need for training to identify signs of potential trafficking victims so that victims do not continue to go unnoticed in plain sight.

As someone who cares deeply about the issue of human trafficking, it is so exciting to me to see how social media continues to be used in new and creative ways by the modern abolition movement to shine a light onto the issue. I believe that social media is one of the most important assets that the modern-day abolitionist movement has in the fight against human trafficking, and I look forward to seeing the impact of social media on advocacy grow moving forward.


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