[Jan. 13, 2020]: January is the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and it is an opportunity to raise awareness of this global problem. The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this problem and the need for collective measures to combat this phenomenon.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Human beings are sold as chattel, a process that robs them of their humanity. It is important to keep raising awareness of this problem. Unfortunately, this year events and activities to raise awareness of this problem are limited by the pandemic. Internationally, wars and civil conflicts have aggravated the problem and limited global efforts to deal with it.
Human trafficking constitutes a serious challenge facing all societies on all continents. It is impossible to effectively deal with the problem without collective and collaborative efforts. Human trafficking does not recognize borders.

Detroit, falling on an international border with Canada, has seen its share of human trafficking cases. Trafficking is a Michigan problem and combatting it is a Michigan responsibility. In 2019, AHRC held a community forum on human trafficking. The forum included presenters from academia, civil society and government agencies. The forum was an opportunity for all the participants to share their knowledge and to learn from the insights of other participants. In coordination with our local partner, Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD), full day training was provided for one hundred twenty participants. The event was an educational opportunity and a forum for constructive engagement with stakeholders. AHRC hopes to hold similar events in the future.

Trafficking is not only a problem for the professionals to worry about and help deal with. As with all problems, every person can make a difference. AHRC urges the public to be vigilant and to report situations that they suspect involve human trafficking. Even one life lost to human trafficking is one life too many. This is a problem that our law enforcement; local, state and federal; take seriously. We in the human rights community appreciate the efforts that law enforcement agencies make every day to combat human trafficking.
“To traffic a human being, mainly women and children, is to rob a human being of their humanity,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “We look forward to a day where trafficking is a problem of the past, not the present,” concluded Hamad.

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