As a parent, my worst nightmare is that something will happen to my children. There are many things that could happen to them, but the worst is imagining that they would be taken. Beyond that, the thought that they could be taken and forced into a life of slavery is too much to bear.
Human trafficking has taken a spotlight with the Nigerian conflict and the United States is not immune to this modern form of slavery. Children, women and men are victims of sex and labor trafficking. Check out this report on human trafficking trends in the US by the Polaris Project. In Nigeria these girls were captured because they were getting an education. Human trafficking is something that I just can’t wrap my head around, but even more I can’t imagine living in a country where you are oppressed for obtaining an education and practicing religion (I single these out because they seem to be the most controversial).
Threads Worldwide works with artisans who, because of the jobs they have as artisans, are able to get an education and/or send their children to school and they are not forced to work in areas that put them at risk for human trafficking. Kara Wiegand, one of the Threads founders, called asking if I would take a photo with a #BringBackOurGirls in support of the viral social media campaign. I just happened to be wearing my Sevenly “Education is Freedom” t-shirt. While I included the photo of my daughter, and myself the one that really is powerful to me is of Samantha and her sign. The goal was to look sad and upset by the situation in Nigeria. Samantha nailed it. I also found this article interesting about the impact of social media campaigns like this one.
As we were making our sign, Samantha and her brother asked what it meant and I struggled with how to tell them about things that go on in the world without causing them to worry or be scared. I explained how where we live we are free to go to school, church and do as we please, but that in some countries girls are not allowed to go to school. I tried to come up with a way to explain girls being abducted in a way they could understand. I ended up telling them that girls were being held in jail and that there are people all over the world working to get them out so that they can go back to school. Upon hearing this Samantha said “aw” in disbelief that people wouldn’t be allowed to go to school. My 6-year old believes that everyone should be able to go to school. I wish it could just be that simple.
– Emily Valentine, Threads Sales Consultant