“Sadly we can’t do much with this information.” At least that’s what one person posted in response to a BBC News report on a just-released global index of modern slavery.
Those of us at Beyond Borders couldn’t disagree more. Neither could the thousands of everyday people who are participating in the Counter Child Trafficking Global Online Conference at this very moment.
While governments absolutely have a role to play, far too many people – like our friend who posted his response to the BBC story – minimize or even outright ignore the incredibly powerful role individuals can play in making change happen.
In fact, when was the last time you heard of a successful social movement sparked by a government?!
Back in October of 2010, The Nation took a look at the50 Most Influential Progressives of the Twentieth Century – and almost all of them emerged from grassroots movements as opposed to government-sanctioned initiatives.
This doesn’t mean that those of us at Beyond Borders don’t see a place for government in advancing the cause of justice and equality. On the contrary, injustice and inequality often flourish precisely because government fails to act.
But successful, life-altering social movements for change are almost always born at the grassroots level, where they build their strength, hone their messages and speak with an authenticity that draws in passionate allies with a shared vision of freedom.
In Haiti–which ranked #2 on the index as having the highest proportion of enslaved people–we’re working alongside Haitians who are building the movement to end child slavery. From the creation of a National Day to End Restavèk (child slavery)–observed every Nov. 17–to neighborhood-based Child Rights Training that more than 3,000 Child Rights Activists have completed, Beyond Borders is working with advocates who have a vision of a Haiti free from abuse and exploitation of children.
No matter how far away you are from Haiti, you can support the work of activists determined to end child slavery. How?
1. You can learn about the causes of child slavery in Haiti and Beyond Borders’ commitment to work together with grassroots activists and the Haitian government to end it.
2. You can make a personal commitment to partner with one of 10 communities in Haiti who are organizing Child Protection Committees to put a stop to child slavery.
3. You can take your newfound knowledge and invite your friends, family, congregation, school, workplace or social club to fundraise for our activists working to end child slavery in Haiti.
The fact is, everyone can do something to work for justice in our world – even if the challenge is as daunting as ending modern slavery.
All of us at Beyond Borders hope you’ll never let anyone tell you otherwise.