Why Are Humanitarians Exploiting the People They're Supposed to Help?

Why Are Humanitarians Exploiting the People They're Supposed to Help?

Working for justice doesn’t mean we’ll always get it right, but we need to make the effort to maintain some sort of consistency. If you’re working to end human trafficking, you probably shouldn’t be buying slave-made chocolate or clothes. If you support women’s rights, you shouldn’t sexually exploit women and girls.

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Should I Volunteer with an Anti-Trafficking Program?

Should I Volunteer with an Anti-Trafficking Program?

Unfortunately, the capacity to care doesn’t translate to an ability to navigate the complexity of anti-trafficking work. This is especially the case when working directly with survivors emerging from exploitation. Yet, this is often the focal point for would-be volunteers. They want to meet survivors and hear their stories, lavish victims with gifts, walk through Red Light Districts, or participate in rescue operations.

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Why Shock Isn’t an Effective Campaign Tactic

Why Shock Isn’t an Effective Campaign Tactic

Shedding light on human rights issues is necessary, but there are better ways to go about it. You can’t fight violence by using violent images. You can’t claim you’re exposing an injustice while creating another. You can’t expect effective, meaningful change by turning people into pawns in an emotionally manipulative game.

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True Justice Work Isn't Just Outrage

True Justice Work Isn't Just Outrage

Injustice should make us outraged, but it matters how we react to it. Responding by wishing AIDS on a person or punctuating a tweet with hashtags like #burn and #die hardly advances the work of justice. This kind of approach only fuels our “outrage economy” and turns the internet into an online battlefield, escalating already volatile issues and dividing people even further.

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What You Need to Know About Labour Conditions in China

What You Need to Know About Labour Conditions in China

“We are ill-treated and work like slaves.” 
“[We are treated worse than] horse cow goat pig dog. (sic)” 
“We suffer torturement, beat and rude remark (sic). Nearly no payment.”

These are the hand-written pleas of workers in Chinese factories, tucked away into a purse bought from Walmart, a shopping bag from Saks and a box of Halloween decorations from K-Mart.

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Dear Aspiring Overseas Volunteer

Dear Aspiring Overseas Volunteer

As I learned the hard way, there’s far more to pre-departure preparation than just getting vaccinated against typhoid and yellow fever. I also needed to be inoculated with a good dose of reality so that I could start out my service with healthy boundaries and realistic expectations.

The truth is that international volunteers are bound for more than adventure and warm, fuzzy feelings.

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Who Gets to be an Anti-Trafficking Activist?

Who Gets to be an Anti-Trafficking Activist?

Our limited definition of activism is problematic. It keeps some people out of engaging in important work because they don’t feel qualified enough—while keeping others imprisoned by it, demanding perfection and martyrdom of themselves and veering dangerously toward burnout and compassion fatigue.

Is there a place for celebrities and stay-at-home parents and business leaders and amateurs in the justice movement?

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