This past year has been a big one for human trafficking — a new administration, revamped legislation, and great grassroots initiatives — to name a few positive trends. But I have a crystal ball that says 2010 is going to be even bigger. Okay, so maybe it’s not a crystal ball, but it’s made of some kind of glass and I washed it off after unearthing it from the attic. Don’t judge; have you ever tried to buy crystal on a blogger’s salary? Ball-quality concerns aside, here are my first 5 predictions for the State of Abolition in 2010. Some predictions are hopeful and others are ones I’d rather be wrong about. But ultimately, you’re the ones who will determine which ones come true. You can check out my next five predictions in Part 2.
1. Slavery in the production of consumer goods will be a hot topic. Conscious consumerism might not be as hot as metallic leggings in 2010, but it will start to creep in the the back, sides, and possibly even the front of shoppers’ minds. Fair Trade spending has been on the rise in the UK in 2009, despite the recession. I predict that Fair Trade and other more ethical and conscious buying will go up in 2010 as well, especially on easier-to-find products like coffee and chocolate.
2. We’ll see a moderate spike in sex trafficking at the Olympics and World Cup. 2010 brings with it two major international sporting events — the Winter Olympics in February in Canada and the World Cup in September in South Africa. There’s been a lot of controversy about whether or not a spike in sex trafficking and/or prostitution will result from these events. Will there be a gagillion new victims trafficked into these cities? No. But traffickers will take advantage of the large numbers of men traveling to these events.
3. Better identification of labor trafficking. The Bush Administration was good at very, very few things, but bringing greater visibility to the issue of trafficking into commercial sex was one of them. Addressing labor trafficking, not so much. 2010 will be the year that labor trafficking begins to be recognized as the significant global issue it is. After all, more people come into contact with slavery in factories through the purchase of consumer goods than slavery in prostitution.
4. The bloom of public-private partnerships. The progressive community is finally starting to repeat the public-private partnership mantra: Not all corporations are evil. And in fact, some are pretty great. More and more, anti-trafficking organizations are teaming up with corporations and other for-profit entities to fight slavery together. Profit-based business models are also increasingly used to generate income and skills for trafficking rehabilitation programs. I predict that 2010 will be the year these partnerships really come into their own.
5. A move away from general “awareness”. Human trafficking awareness campaigns have been going on for about a decade now, and I think it’s safe to say, we’re all aware. It’s been a couple years since I met someone who had never even heard of human trafficking. But while people might know there’s a thing called “human trafficking” out there, they still don’t know much about it. Perhaps this is more of a wish than a prediction, but let’s move away from general “awareness.” Get specific. Get active. Give us the who, what, when, where, and why. Break human trafficking apart. We’re in the specifics portion of public education now.