When Maria* came to Washington state to work as in a home, she found herself working in conditions that are akin to modern day slavery. Her travel documents were taken from her and she was forced to work long hours with little or no pay. She didn’t speak English, she didn’t know how to get help, and she felt compelled to continue in her hardship. In a moment of desperation, Maria made it to a local store where she was planning to buy a phone card to call her mother in the Philippines.The cashier at the store happened to be from the Philippines and when Maria described her situation, the cashier not only realized that Maria might be a victim of trafficking but the cashier also knew who to call for help.
Thankfully, authorities helped Maria to escape her nightmare.
Businesses like that grocery store that Maria visited can plan a vital role in helping victims to escape modern day slavery. Thanks to a grant by Hope Givers United, BEST has developed business-friendly outreach posters for posting in public spaces or back of the house, to raise awareness about the crime of trafficking and let victims like Maria know how they can get help. Over 50 businesses have already put up these posters.
BEST has also developed “Employee Indicator Cards,” for employees to learn the signs of trafficking. These small cards can be kept behind the cash register or posted on an employee notice board or refrigerator–to serve as a reminder of the help that is available!
In addition, BEST has developed an entire “Outreach Toolkit” for community groups that want to reach out to businesses to raise awareness about trafficking. If your group wants to plan an outreach, please contact us at email@example.com. We’d love to help!
* Name has been changed. Based on a true story.