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How to Start a Career Preventing Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking is considered to be a modern form of slavery, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines as coercing humans into exploitation for labor or commercial sex purposes. Learning about some of the tragic atrocities associated with human trafficking can inspire people to become involved with eradicating these crimes. Numerous opportunities exist for helping to prevent human trafficking.

Learn the History

If you’re planning to complete a degree that complements your career goal to prevent human trafficking, consider studying history, psychology, women’s studies, economics or international relations. If you plan to travel to different parts of the world where human trafficking commonly occurs, you might study languages spoken there or study abroad in a program that invites close interaction with communities in those places. Informally, you can educate yourself about human trafficking by reading newspaper articles or research published by international organizations such as the United Nations.

Contribute your Time

Deepen your formal understanding of human trafficking prevention by engaging in volunteer activities. "Forbes" states that individuals can start a club or community group that battles human trafficking by increasing awareness or taking direct action, for example, fundraising to contribute to existing trafficking-prevention organizations. Other activities might include organizing a conference focused on human-trafficking prevention or accepting an internship with an anti-trafficking organization. Completing volunteer work can provide valuable field experience you can apply to career opportunities.

Grab a Pen

The U.S. Department of State encourages individuals to lobby government officials indicating concern about human-trafficking prevention. Not only will lobbying help add to your personal effort to prevent human trafficking, it will provide helpful lobbying and advocacy experience that can later be applied to a paid career in anti-trafficking advocacy. Consider contacting officials at the local, state, national and international level to increase the span of your effort. You can link volunteer efforts with lobbying efforts by encouraging others to contact government officials on behalf of trafficking victims, too.

Meet and Greet

Because human trafficking often inspires deeply passionate responses within people, it can create close relations between people and groups sharing the common mission. Get to know advocates, attorneys, counselors and others working to end human trafficking, in order to learn more about the topic and increase your professional network. As you build a resume that includes academic studies, volunteer work and other efforts, individuals in your network might eventually hire you to join their efforts.

Remember to Apply

Although networking can help you learn about open positions, don’t assume that employers will come to you. Have a resume, cover letter and references prepared so that when job positions open up, you will be prepare to apply. By now, your academic studies and practical experience volunteering with anti-trafficking agencies have helped you prepare for your next career move. The Daily Muse lists seven organizations dedicated to preventing human trafficking. For example, the U.S.-based Polaris Project advocates for stronger anti-trafficking laws. In India, the group Prajwala fights against sex trafficking. The Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia, also known as COSA, works to prevent children from entering slave labor, including sexual slavery. In Thailand, Urban Light workers help prevent young boys from being trafficked into slavery.


Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.

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Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch/Caiaimage/GettyImages