In the United States, January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and I cannot help but find it auspicious that this is my first full day in Greece, beginning a year with HD.
Greece is a transit, destination, and a very limited source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, and men subjected to forced labor. (US Department of State)
Officially, Greece was designated a Tier 2 country, one where a government is not fully compliant with the minimum protection of victims and in which the number of victims of severe abuse is significantly increasing. (Greek Reporter)
Although few Greeks are trafficked (however, the number of Greek women who resorted to prostitution grew significantly when the economy collapsed), but women (sex trafficking) and men (human trafficking) frequently find themselves sold into slavery here. They are from Eastern Europe and Africa, and their traffickers use a variety of threats to coerce them into work.
If you’d like to learn more about trafficking throughout the world, I highly suggest you check out The A21 Campaign, a non-profit organization whose goal is to “abolish injustice in the 21st century.” A lofty goal, but one that I’d rather get closer to achieving than sit doing nothing.
And of course, get excited about HD, the Greek non-profit I will be working with this year. Many of you reading this donated money so that I could live in Athens for a year and volunteer my time making this organization a reality. I am so thankful for your generosity, and I would like to suggest you think and pray about donating to House of Damaris itself. I will provide more information about our schedule, status, and means of donating soon!
Today is National Human Trafficking Day, and it is an opportunity to remember that our privilege to live as free people is not shared by everyone. There are FAR too many men, women, and children who have been ripped away from their homes and families to work illegally as slaves, either in the fields or in people’s beds. Thankfully, the world’s awareness of this problem has grown enormously, so there are many ways you can join the fight to eradicate human trafficking, either through prayer, lobbying, money, or time. Take a moment and consider what you can do.