Hey Mama, have you ever had a conversation with your child about human trafficking? Any idea where to start?
This definitely isn’t an easy conversation to have, especially here in Botswana, and for so many reasons. You might wonder,
– how would you know that human trafficking is happening in Botswana?
– why is this an important conversation to have with your kids?
– what do you say?
– how do you even start the conversation?
A sad reality is human trafficking is happening in our country, and children are among the most vulnerable. However, the conversation can be age appropriate and doesn’t have to instill a sense of fear in your child. Rather, this would give them enough information so that they can know how to protect themselves from harm or danger.
At the end of this article, my hope is that you’ll be more equipped and confident to start this conversation in your home, and maybe join a family-friendly walk in Gaborone to learn more and support a great cause.
What’s My Story?
About 10 years ago, as a uni student, I attended a presentation on human trafficking. The more I learned the more I started noticing human trafficking and slavery activities around me. Before then some things just looked normal despite the tell-tale signs. The same year I attended a Women’s Conference that centered its focus on the issue and raised funds to set up a women’s shelter.
At the time I found out that though there wasn’t much activity locally, Botswana was a “highway” where human trafficking movement was taking place between countries. 10 years later it’s so scary to see the increase of human slavery and trafficking activity across the country – and the many people that are reported as missing.
Because we don’t know what to look for, it goes unseen.
Around the same time, I started following the co-founder of A21 who shared images from the first Walk For Freedom. Ever since then I have seen many countries joining the walk and consequently the many stories that follow of people being rescued in every country that hosts a walk.
I never imagined that I too would be a host of the walk, but in my wanting to see more public education and action taking people for the safety of vulnerable people in Botswana, everything came together and now Walk For Freedom is happening in Gaborone.
Where Can YOU Start To Learn More About Human Trafficking?
First thing’s first, open yourself up to learn more about the issue and how in this day and age people are being exploited for their bodies and labour. Here’s a video you can watch.
As you learn, allow yourself to process the information. This might be a shock to your system with many emotions from anger, to grief and maybe even helplessness. Hopefully these emotions will motivate you to take action in protecting your loved ones and others.
Family Safety Guides
A21 has put together informative guides designed to help families to start conversations and equip themselves and others on human trafficking—what it is, how to identify it, and how to prevent it.
Here are downloadable guides for parents with kids and teenagers.
The A21 website also has guides that provide information, safety tips, and red flag indicators on a variety of topics including
- safe employment
- digital safety
- an early childhood prevention program to empower vulnerable children aged 3-6
- a primary prevention program for kids aged 6-12
- and a high school curriculum for teachers and
- a children’s storybook on how to stay safe
You’re more than welcome to join the conversation by following Walk For Freedom Gaborone on Facebook and Instagram and registering to be part of the walk this Saturday, the 15th of October.
If you can’t make it this year, the next walk will be on the 14th of October 2023. All updates will come from the pages as well.
Share this information with as many people as you can, remember the more people are educated, the safer they will be.
My Hope For The Future
My hope and motivation for the walk are to see what I have seen being established in other countries set up in Botswana – a designated hotline where trafficking activities can be reported, laws that will support the safety of vulnerable peoples and many trainings in schools and communities.
The first #WalkForFreedom in Gaborone this weekend will be the small steps that one day will be giant leaps in ending human trafficking and slavery in Botswana.
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