What Does Shark Week Have to Do with Sex Trafficking?

This week (July 5th-12th) is the 28th Shark Week for Discovery Channel, a week millions of viewers drop everything to watch specials about sharks. Last year alone drew 42 million viewers (approximately the population of Argentina). There will be posts all over Facebook about how much people love sharks - but even more than sharks, they love shark week.

It's kind of a bandwagon thing. Many people who "love" Shark Week are kind of ambivalent about sharks and other marine life the other 51 weeks of the year. Granted, there are definitely people who love their Great Whites and Hammerheads, but for many all they know has come from Discovery Channel this one week each summer. 

Don't get me wrong. I love that people are excited about learning about biology. It doesn't matter all that much that they aren't interested the rest of the year. I bet the sharks don't care.

Do you ever run into this with social issues? I know I do. It's easy to get ramped up about something once, when you initially are exposed to it. Then, sometimes the excitement fizzles out. There are three legitimate reasons for this and two not-so-legitimate reasons.

Legitimate:

1. You don't run into it in your everyday life. It's easy to forget.

2. You don't have any action plan, no way to directly make a difference, so in the end, you aren't as active as you thought you'd be.

3. You realize the issue is much bigger, more evil, and harder to fight than you originally thought. And you get disillusioned and angry.

Not-so-legitimate:

1. You didn't actually care in the first place. Maybe you got dragged to the documentary viewing or presentation.

2. You think you can't make a difference.

Sex trafficking is a big issue. It's evil and has so many facets that the fight has to take on many different forms. This is why non-profits, social enterprises (like Made for Freedom), other NGOs, and governments have to work together. It's under the surface of a society, masked and hidden so that we can pretend it's not there. Like Shark Week, you can get ramped up about it for a short period of time and find that you don't really have any idea what impact this knowledge can have on your life. So you might end up letting it drop. 

But there are millions of real people all over the world that will be impacted if we are silent, inactive, and treat trafficking like Shark Week.

What can we do? Check out these blog posts for ideas:

1. Shop dignified

2. Talk to your friends about shopping dignified and trafficking

3. Educate yourself about trafficking

The fight against trafficking will take longer than a week. Let's stay engaged!