January is considered “Trafficking Awareness Month” or so the many e-mails and invites to special events are telling me. As a social worker and previously as a domestic violence/sexual assault advocate I have been inundated with trafficking discussions, forums, conferences, and trainings. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great. However I feel as though now I am fully “aware” of trafficking and that the social-work community as a whole is very “aware” of trafficking in the Duluth area. My question is what do I now do with this awareness to help survivors of the industry and to prevent such things from happening to new victims? What is currently being done by local sexual assault groups such as PAVSA to combat trafficking and how can a social worker, or anyone for that matter, jump in and help?
Please don’t infer that I am in any way downing the efforts to inform people about trafficking — the more who know the better. But I do feel like there is a lack of discussion about action steps, and as a person whose clients and own family members have been affected by this issue I’d like to know less how to make people aware and more about how to do something about it.