Welcome back, readers!
This week I would like to introduce (or re-introduce) a movement near and dear to my heart for the past few years. That movement is a little something called Dressember.
You may have read a little bit about Dressember in my very first blog post (Check it out here!), and it’s that time of year again! Dressember 2017 registration opens October 1st and I’m more motivated this year than any year before to participate and help in any way I can.
Dressember is a movement lead by the Dressember Foundation (Click here for their website) to raise awareness and funds for anti-human and sex trafficking efforts around the world. During the month of December women wear dresses every day for the entire month. Men can also participate by wearing dress clothes as well. The point is to raise awareness. Now, for those of you who think it’s a silly idea, especially in cold states, let me explain to you my experience with this movement so near and dear to my heart.
I had always known that human trafficking existed in our world, but never could I have imagined the scale on which it occurs all around us on a daily basis. My friend Paige brought human trafficking into a whole new light for me during my first year of college. I participated in the second half of Dressember 2015 alongside Paige and her leadership and passion for such a worthy cause lit a flame that I have now begun to share with the world as well.
Dressember 2016 I participated for the full month and, let me tell you, it was not always easy. I live in Wisconsin where winter can be brutal. There were days when the news would tell me it was going to be -30 degrees or less. Local schools would be closed because of the wind chills, but since I’m in college classes aren’t cancelled unless professors absolutely can’t get to class. So I would be afraid of how cold I would be if I were to wear a dress and my tights outside, but I never quit. Now let me explain why.
Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry with millions of slaves worldwide and less than 1% of victims are ever rescued (Facts from A21). There are many different types of trafficking such as labor trafficking, bonded labor (forcing someone to work for a low wage to pay back an impossible debt), child labor trafficking, and sex trafficking of men, women, and even children. These victims are taken from their homes, from shopping malls, from elementary schools through college campuses, and the list goes on and on. The life of a victim can vary depending on what type of work they are forced to perform, but the typical path is as follows: They are kidnapped and then “conditioned” to fear their owner(s) so they won’t try to escape, they are then either sold or transported to where they will be performing their forced duties, and that’s how the majority end up living the rest of their lives. It’s a sad story with a bad ending that I, as well as millions of people around the world are standing up to spread the word to end (Half the Sky).
This year I’m challenging each and every one of you that read this to make an effort. Talk to someone about human trafficking, read an article, or even participate alongside me in Dressember 2017! I try to recruit friends and family each year to at least participate for a few days to help spread the word.
Something like Dressember is the least we can do to help speak out for those who don’t have a voice. When you think you can’t do something like Dressember because you don’t have enough dresses or it’s too cold, think about the young boys and girls living without food, without proper clothing, without their families and friends, all while being forced to perform labor or sexual acts against their own will. Or think about the families that are searching for their loved ones kidnapped and not yet found, and ask yourself if a little bit of a chill is really that inconvenient. It’s for them that I will continue to participate and speak out every year through the form of Dressember and everyday conversations.
I hope to see many, many more people join the movement to end human trafficking and join me in Dressember this year! Even if you don’t fundraise like myself, participation and starting those tough conversations can have a ripple effect. Two years ago I had no idea human trafficking existed so close to my hometown and it took my friend Paige to open my eyes. If I can be that person for someone else, then that’s one more life we could save from a life of slavery.
If you have any questions, or just want to discuss what I’ve explained above, don’t hesitate to contact me through my contact page! I would love to share what info I have with anyone interested. Also be watching on October 1st for Dressember 2017 registration! (Here’s the link!).
As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Until next time!