From Child Slavery To Anti-Human Trafficking Activism: Meet The Woman Changing Lives With The Help Of Major Corps.

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What industry do you think we’re talking about when we mention a $150 billion industry? Fashion? Cars? Tech? Nope, it’s human trafficking. If that isn’t enough to make you sick, let’s shed some light on this global crime.

It is estimated there are more men, women and children caught in slavery today then at any other point in human history. Starting to feel the bile rise to your throat? Wait, there’s more. According to the A21 Campaign, a Los Angeles-based non-profit fighting human trafficking around the world, there are an estimated 27 million people caught up in this trade which includes sex slavery, child and forced labor.

One woman who knows these statistics up close and personal is Rani Hong. At the age of 7 she was forced into a life of child slavery in India by her mother and father who were very poor and didn’t have the means to look after her. An opportunist in their village told Rani’s parents she would “look after her”, give her an education and a life that they couldn’t.

Rani was brought into the human trafficking trade but eventually fell so ill, she wasn’t worth any money and was sold into illegal international adoption by her captors. She survived daily beatings and starvation and to this day she still blocks out some of the more horrific memories, according to a feature on the Oprah Winfrey Show a number of years ago. It is the type of near-death experience that eventually gave her a chance at a new life.

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Rani and her husband Trong, who came from a similar circumstance in Vietnam ended up meeting in Seattle where they were both adopted by American families, and fate brought them together on a blind date. They eventually got married, had four children and now work to fight human trafficking on another level. Rani did end up going back to India 21 years after leaving and was finally reunited with her birth mother who she longed to see all those years ago as a young child slave.

Her story is one of redemption, power, and love, but it is not always the same for many other victims. Experts say only 1% of victims every get rescued, and the average age of those being trafficked is 12 years old. Rani is using her experience to hopefully change that statistic, and is engaging a very powerful and influential sector of society to join her in this fight: the corporate sector.

She and her husband Trong are the founders of the Tronie Foundation, the only anti-human trafficking organization founded by two former victims, working to include the survivor voice in finding solutions to this global scourge. They are a non-profit group, as well as a global UN accredited organization working to end human trafficking and slavery. Rani herself is a UN Special Advisor & Consultant on Sustainability.

Earlier this year, the Tronie Foundation launched a major initiative called the Freedom Seal. Together with their various partners, they have developed a specific, ongoing method for corporations to utilize to eliminate the use of human slaves in the supply chain of their products.

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“The Freedom Seal is a visual marker of “freedom” from slavery, developed in conjunction with world thought leaders, supply chains experts and with 30 major companies across Europe and North America. By displaying the Freedom Seal, businesses have a way to communicate to consumers they care about social responsibility, and are actively taking steps to prevent forced labor in their supply chains,” wrote Rani in an op-ed for the Huffington Post about the initiative.

Some of the research they did showed that 66%of consumers in both the UK and the US would stop buying a product if they learned that its production used modern slavery, and 10% would pay more for slavery-free products including food, tea and coffee, clothing and electronics. Sounds like a no-brainer to us!

Rani believes that something like the Freedom Seal gives corporations a concrete plan of action to do their part in preventing this awful trade. Around the same time the Freedom Seal was launched, Rani said a news story from the Associated Press shed light on Burmese slaves working aboard Indonesian cargo ships. These slaves were forced to fish under horrible conditions, but their catch can eventually finds its way to major US suppliers like Wal-Mart, Sysco, Kroger and Safeway.

If we knew Wal-Mart was buying produce from people who were forced to endure slave-like conditions, would we shop there? This is what Rani hopes will be a major breakthrough in the way corporations do business, and how aware consumers become of the products and services they buy.

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“The use of the Freedom Seal will function in several ways: First, it will raise public awareness and cause people to be more aware of the social implications of their spending. Secondly, it will help consumers identify companies who support organizations that care for human trafficking survivors. Thirdly, and most critically, the application process will help businesses implement specific policies and procedures aimed at preventing forced labor,” she said.

Business interested in applying will go through a multi-step process to ensure they meet the criteria.

Aside from helping the United Nations and other important organizations pass important legislation and understand the depths of the human trafficking industry, the Tronie Foundation is how bringing their activism to everyday society where consumers and corporations alike can make a difference simply in the daily choices they make at the grocery store.

We can only speak for ourselves when we say the Freedom Seal is something we are going to be keeping a keen eye out for from here on in, and we hope you will to. To see this incredible woman and her husband both use their stories to change the world and empower many lives along the way leaves us in awe.

Hear more of Rani’s thoughts on why corporations will view the Freedom Seal as an important part of their consumer culture and how it will affect them financially to get involved:


 

 

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: LA-Based Non-Profit Bringing The Healing Power Of Dance To Sex Trafficking Victims Around The World - GirlTalkHQ

  2. Pingback: Anti-Sex Trafficking Org. In India Training Survivors To Become Lawyers To Fight For Other Victims - GirlTalkHQ

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