What can you do to end all forms of violence against women and girls?
- Observe International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25.
- Take action on each of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, November 25–December 10.
- Participate in PW’s observance of Orange Days. Wear orange on the 25th of each month (order orange PW shirts from www.pcusa.org/store). Learn more at www.un.org/en/women/endviolence.
- Access and use Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network’s (PADVN) resources.
- Ask U.S. lawmakers to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Order postcards from www.pcusa.org/store.
- Join Cities for CEDAW; attend webinars on starting a coalition in your city. Also see www.citiesforcedaw.org.
- Join www.congoswim.org.
- Download Men in the Mirror and start a study of men’s role in changing attitudes and behaviors.
- Contact your local women’s shelter and respond to their needs.
- Pledge at www.wewillspeakout.org.
- Ring the bell. In India, when a person hears the sounds of domestic violence, they are asked to ring their neighbor's doorbell. This interrupts the action, gives a chance for calming down, makes rescue possible and encourages the perpetrator to rethink his actions. Learn more at https://breakthrough.tv/ringthebell.
- Join www.onebillionrising.org.
- Organize a discussion in your community on issues of violence and discrimination against women and girls.
- Plan a worship service with an “ending violence against women” theme. Including a Minute for Mission on the campaign to end violence against women and girls, and provide orange ribbons to each member of the congregation to be worn during worship (a basket in the narthex is a good way to distribute them).
- Work to raise awareness of and bring an end to human trafficking, one of the most egregious forms of violence against women.
What can you do to end human trafficking?
Raise awareness and educate
- Plan now for PW’s third annual Together in Action Days, January 10–17, planning events around Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11.
- Use the PC(USA)’s Toolkit for Action: Modern Slavery, prepared by the Human Trafficking Roundtable; www.pcusa.org/browse/resources-resource/ministries/human-trafficking.
- email@example.com). Check with your local university, as well.
- Teach others to recognize signs of human trafficking and to report instances through local police and the national hotline, 888.373.7888. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.
- Share information from the Trafficking in Persons Report 2014, www.state.gov/documentsHost a film screening. Polaris Project (www.polarisproject.org/take-action/raise-awareness) has a list of 50 to choose from. Not My Life is a particuarly informative and powerful film.
- Estimate your slavery footprint (based on products you purchase that are produced with forced labor) at https://slaveryfootprint.org. Visit this organization’s blog to learn about companies that have committed to fair labor and supply.
- Find out how many slaves work for you: https://freedomcommons.ijm.org.
- Hold a “Run for Justice.” Last May, Justice Ventures International (JVI) and others raised awareness of human trafficking by participating in the Hilton Garden’s TrafficStop 5K—"Racing to Stop Human Trafficking" in McLean, Virginia. Churches, including Open Door Presbyterian of Herndon, Virginia, organized teams of runners. Hold your own run and donate the proceeds to an organization that is working to end human trafficking.
Participate in advocacy campaigns
- Go to https://ciw-online.org/slavery to learn about and participate in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ anti-slavery campaign.
- Work with ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) to encourage companies in the travel and tourism industry to prevent sexual exploitation of children. Learn more at www.thecode.org and www.ecpatusa.org.
- Join the Red Hands campaign to work for an end to conscription of child soldiers—www.redhandday.org.
- Join the #igivehope social media campaign—www.unodc.org/endht.
- Hold vigils for the Nigerian girls taken by Boko Haram in April and those taken in October 2014.
- Write your legislators asking them to pressure the Nigerian government to work for the girls’ release.
Additional action you can take
- Start a S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) campaign to distribute soaps with the national human trafficking hotline number to hotels. See www.traffickfree.com.
- Shop for freedom: www.justiceventures.org.
- Support organizations that are working with at-risk women and girls to prevent trafficking, and working with women either rescued or still being trafficking who are in need of refuge and healing. Here are some supported by or run by Presbyterian women.
- On Eagle’s Wings, a PW mission partner in North Carolina, ministering to young women who have been trafficked: www.oewm.net.
- The Lifeboat Project, an initiative of Jill Cohen, PW from Central Florida Presbytery: https://thelifeboatproject.org.
- Ecumenical Women’s Coalition Against Human Trafficking, also initiated by a Presbyterian woman, Nadine Hill: https://www.facebook.com/ewcahumantrafficking.
- Plan a worship service with a human trafficking theme, including a Minute for Mission that tells a story of someone who has been trafficked or shares statistics, action steps, signs of trafficking or other useful information. Provide dark blue ribbons to each member of the congregation to be worn during worship (a basket in the narthex is a good way to distribute them).
- Lobby your U.S. senators to support the International Violence Against Women Act. Learn more at www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/women-s-rights/violence-against-women/international-violence-against-women-act and www.unifem-usnc.org/ivawa.
Even more ideas*
- Host a human trafficking fair for local churches in your community. Invite local organizations to have a table; have a speaker; have a dinner with a free-will offering to benefit an anti-trafficking group.
- Ask your local library to have a display in the month of January on the issue of human trafficking.
- Write letters about the issue to the editor of your local newspaper or write a guest column/op-ed.
- Have an awareness/fundraiser event to support a local outreach organization.
- Hold a book discussion using a book on the issue of human trafficking. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a great book for this. You might want to do this in conjunction with your local library.
- Plan a prayer walk in your community to bring awareness that human trafficking happens in every community. End at your town center or church with candles and a time of prayer.
- Make a traveling mural focusing on victims of human trafficking. (This is a great way to get your youth involved.) Begin in your church and arrange for it to be on display at a different church, the public library, or town hall in your community each week through January. It could also be accompanied by an informational display on the issue.
- Plan a brown-bag lunch time discussion at your workplace, sharing with your colleagues about the issue of human trafficking.
- Decorate the outside of your church with lights, dark blue ribbons and a human trafficking banner so that your church will be a beacon of light on this issue in the month of January.
*Thank you to American Baptist Women for these ideas.
For additional resources and information
Let us know how your group works to end human trafficking and/or other forms of violence against women. Send your story (and photos!) to Yvonne Hileman, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or share your story on www.facebook.com/presbyterianwomenpcusa.