The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
January marks Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which is meant to underscore the need to destigmatize important discussions about human trafficking and call attention to key facts and realities about modern-day slavery.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. It is a form of modern-day slavery that impacts at least 20 to 30 million men, women and children each year. This modern-day slavery occurs in countries throughout the world and in communities across the United States. Though there are many types of human trafficking, perhaps the most devastating is the trafficking and forced labor and servitude of children. At least five million victims of trafficking are children, and at least 17,000 of those are from the United States.
Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbinic voices of our tradition, spoke on the crucial importance of helping and freeing those enslaved in a lifestyle that is beyond their control. The redemption of captives takes precedence to clothing and providing for the poor, for there is no greater mitzvah than redeeming the captives, since “a captive is included in the category of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the one whose life is in danger.” By engaging in education and advocacy around ending human trafficking, we are living out this Jewish imperative.
In commemoration Human Trafficking Awareness Month, members of the Washington Inter-Religious Staff Community have put together an interfaith resource on human trafficking, which highlights basic information about trafficking, perspectives on the issue from a variety of faith traditions, and ways to take action against human trafficking. Be sure to check out the Judaism section in particular, which was put together by the Religious Action Center, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Jewish Federation of North America.
For further information about human trafficking, visit our issue page. Also, be sure to follow @theRAC on Twitter and retweet us during the Jewish Day to End Human Trafficking on January 14.