We’ve collected items for trafficked kids on the streets. We’ve listened, we’ve learned, we’ve begun to educate and build awareness. There’s no question that these are all important steps. Yet, it never seems to be enough to make a dent in the prison that is human sex trafficking. That feels depressing.
What I find inspiring is to have discovered that there are pockets of brilliance popping up all around—even in some, perhaps, surprising arenas. Just as we speak today about entrepreneurial incubators for start-up businesses, innovative people and organizations are actively incubating new concepts and practices to help banish this dehumanizing trade.
I’ve recently learned about two such random acts of brilliance. Turning the Tables was the not-so-random act of Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, a Tel Aviv fashion writer and editor. Through her volunteer work at a rape crisis center, Lilach saw the realities of the sex trade and she became determined to help women leave it. And what was her solution? She helped these women learn skills in fashion styling, dress design and sewing by providing a free course and training. It’s a way up and out for many women in the Tel Aviv area. Turning the Tables helps build real job skills, as well as confidence and new found resilience for many former victims of trafficking. In 2015, NCJW, and in 2016 the Hadassah Foundation, provided grant funding for Turning the Tables. It’s direct, impactful, life-changing and can be replicated anywhere. Brilliant.
Another act is Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). Yes—truckers. The founders of TAT recognized that often their own transportation systems were being exploited by traffickers, as victims were often seen around truck stops and the restaurants and motels frequented by truckers as they work. So, they set out to prepare training videos, develop wallet cards and other materials that became part of trucker orientations. They’ve mobilized their members and others to learn how to recognize signs of trafficking, then report and combat it. Brilliant.
So, we see random acts of brilliance making a real, hands-on difference in this fight. These ideas, and certainly there are others, can be applied to many different areas and industries. Can we brainstorm and come up with a short list of viable ideas that we can implement through JCAST Chicago? I’m in. Are you?
Hadassah Chicago-North Shore