Heroes in the Movement

When I am asked who my hero is in the movement to end modern-day slavery, I draw a blank. There is not one person that I can constantly look up to for inspiration and motivation. However, this isn’t due to the lack of skill, courage, will, and talent of those leading the movement. This is because there are just so many individuals that could qualify for such a title.

My heroes are the abolitionists who dedicate themselves to the movement to end modern-day slavery. Those who rarely get recognition for their work, but continue to strive on for the sake of over 30 million slaves.

What constitutes a ‘hero’ in my mind ultimately comes down to dedication. So many people that I work with at Not For Sale have been working extremely long hours under large amounts of stress for years and years. They are combating a clandestine issue, and so, their efforts don’t always produce immediate, tangible results. Yet, they know that progress in the movement to end modern-day slavery can rarely be measured in hours, days, weeks. Human trafficking is such a complex issue that there is no simple solution. Progress takes time -and a lot of it. Not For Sale staff, therefore, aim to end modern-day slavery in their lifetime. These particular words were chosen partially because of the complexity of the issue, but also because Not For Sale staff realize that the decision to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.

Not For Sale was created in 2007 and celebrated its 5th birthday in February of this year. Since Not For Sale’s inception, the organization pushes harder and further to become more efficient and effective in combating human trafficking. In that time, a lot of progress has been made by Not For Sale staff and partners. At the same time, they understand there is a lot more work to do. They have been working for years with long hours and under stress, but their motivation and determination never waiver. The sheer amount of dedication found within the staff is amazing and an inspiration.

While change may be slow, I believe there wouldn’t be any significant change at all if it weren’t for abolitionists in the movement like the Not For Sale staff, Directors, fellows, and volunteers. Not only must abolitionists combat a complex, clandestine issue, but they also must do so simultaneously against the apathy of billions. It is extremely discouraging at times to see how apathetic some people are to victim’s plights. However, despite this, those at Not For Sale and other abolitionists across the world don’t let apathy hold them back. Apathy just makes them push harder, work harder.

That is what I find inspirational and a good reminder to myself that we can’t take things too personally, we can’t let our emotions get the better of us and wear us out. Traffickers definitely don’t let their emotions keep them from trafficking human beings, so why should we let ours hold us back from ending modern-day slavery? Not For Sale staff, abolitionists across the world, and I are all in this to win.

So, to those of you out there who may feel stressed or discouraged, know that your efforts are not in vain and you are an inspiration to those around you. This is not a campaign that will end anytime soon, and so we may find ourselves sometimes faltering. It is because of that that we must support each other by reminding ourselves why we chose to enter the movement in the first place and embolden each other’s dedication and determination. We must keep each other in the campaign, we must win. We must end modern-day slavery in our lifetime.

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