Supporting Human Trafficking Survivors: 3 Essential Ways You Can Make a Difference Today

Have you ever wondered how people find strength in the face of adversity? We learned how they do it in our recent chat with Amanda Blackwood. Amanda, a survivor of human trafficking, has transformed her past trauma into a beacon of hope for others. She shares her journey from being trafficked to becoming a trauma recovery mentor, offering insight into the importance of empathy, therapy’s value, and art’s healing power. Throughout our conversation, we’ll detail Amanda’s journey, highlighting her resilience and determination to use her experiences to make a difference.

My special guest is Amanda Blackwood.

Amanda Blackwood is a survivor, artist, author, public speaker, and trauma recovery mentor based in Denver, Colorado. With a strong faith as her foundation, Amanda has overcome the traumas of human trafficking and abuse, using her experiences to empower and support others. Her journey of resilience and healing has led her to become a voice for survivors and an advocate for their rights. Through her various roles, Amanda strives to leave a lasting impact on the lives of others, offering hope, inspiration, and actionable steps for change. Her story is a testament to the power of faith, resilience, and the ability to find purpose in adversity.

In a world where human trafficking persists, we are responsible for curbing its proliferation. This begins with understanding the issue, raising awareness about its grotesque forms, and being vigilant of manipulative behavior. Collaborating with survivor-led organizations is another crucial step as they provide much-needed support for survivors, helping them transcend from their painful past to a promising future. When made thoughtfully, your donations can contribute actively to this mission, making a tangible difference in the lives of the survivors and the collective fight against human trafficking.

Here are the key steps:

  • Learn About Human Trafficking: Educate yourself about the different aspects of human trafficking, which is not just limited to sex trafficking. Labor trafficking accounts for a large percentage of cases worldwide and can affect anyone, regardless of their background.
  • Identify Red Flags: Be vigilant for signs of manipulative behavior in the people around you. Recognizing these red flags can prevent someone you know from falling into the hands of traffickers.
  • Connect with Survivor-Led Organizations: Seek out organizations led by survivors of human trafficking. They provide valuable services and mentoring for other survivors, helping them navigate their journey from victim to survivor to a thriving individual.
two hands holding

Learn About Human Trafficking: Educate yourself about the different aspects of human trafficking, which is not just limited to sex trafficking. Labor trafficking accounts for many cases worldwide and can affect anyone, regardless of background.

The prevalence of human trafficking, a horrific crime against humanity, has been escalating globally despite various efforts to combat it. This evil trade, often associated primarily with sex trafficking, affects millions of unsuspecting victims yearly, surprisingly, even in modern developed societies. However, a lesser-known form that also warrants significant attention is labor trafficking. This form of exploitation accounts for a considerable number of cases worldwide. 

As it stands, ignorance and misconceptions about the nature and scope of human trafficking pose a severe obstacle to tackling the issue effectively. Gaining comprehensive knowledge about the vast dimensions of human trafficking, therefore, is the first crucial step towards contributing meaningfully to its eradication. Guest Amanda Blackwood’s experience, as showcased in the Faithfully Engaged podcast, gives a poignant account of her ordeal as a trafficking victim. 

Amanda’s interest is not only in spreading awareness about the scourge of sex trafficking but also in drawing attention to the broader spectrum of human trafficking, inclusive of labor trafficking. Amanda furthers her discourse by debunking some conventional myths about human trafficking. She negates the common perception of human trafficking as an issue isolated to kidnapping or stranger danger. According to Amanda, most cases involve manipulative individuals previously known and trusted by the victims.


Her candid explorations and personal narrative give us substantial insights into the real-world scenario of this deplorable crime. Understanding the multifaceted terrain of human trafficking is integral for supporters of survivors and those actively involved in counter-trafficking initiatives. Comprehensive knowledge of the issue can facilitate more effective mitigation strategies, from recognizing the potential warning signs to understanding the traffickers’ manipulative maneuvers. 

It also helps dissolve the stereotypes and stigmas associated with trafficking victims, empowering them to seek help and recover from their trauma, ultimately reintegrating them into society. Realizing the complex nature of human trafficking sends out a clarion call to everyone, irrespective of their background, to actively participate in fighting this menace. This shared sense of responsibility can foster a more empathetic and supportive society, facilitating an impactful collaboration in the war against human trafficking.

red flag

Identify Red Flags: Be vigilant for signs of manipulative behavior in the people around you. Recognizing these red flags can prevent someone you know from falling into the hands of traffickers.

Our day-to-day lives can be filled with many interactions; we talk to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and family members daily. We may even strike up conversations with strangers. But how often do we genuinely pay attention to what’s happening behind the scenes of those interactions? We might notice changes in behaviors or moods, but we usually chalk it up to someone just ‘having a bad day.’ 

However, it’s crucial to remember that these could indicate more profound issues. Identifying these red flags can prevent someone from becoming a victim of manipulative behavior or even falling into the hands of traffickers. By raising our awareness, being observant, and displaying a readiness to act, we could play a pivotal role in preventing trafficking. Reflecting on the conversation with Amanda Blackwood, she highlighted the importance of identifying manipulative behaviors as a means of prevention. 


She shed light on the dire consequences of overlooking these signs in one’s surroundings, recalling her experience with abuse and trafficking. Despite her challenging past, she demonstrates incredible resilience and a keen desire to foster awareness about this pervasive issue. Amanda’s story underscores how being alert to the signs of manipulation and predatory behaviors can significantly deter potential traffickers. By sharing her experiences, she hopes to educate listeners on the tell-tale signs of manipulation and other red flags to prevent individuals from becoming victims.




The importance of this crucial step extends beyond just providing safety for yourself and your loved ones. It is about cultivating a broader, community-orientated perspective. As members of society, being vigilant of these red flags is one of many steps we can collectively take to safeguard our neighborhoods from nefarious elements. The ability to recognize manipulative behaviors can be developed through education, awareness, and a willingness to intervene. This not only benefits the individual but has far-reaching effects on the community and society as a whole. While it may seem overwhelming, it is a testament to our power to shape the world around us. By becoming more observant, we’re potentially playing a role in curbing human trafficking and abuse, resulting in safer environments for everyone to thrive.

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Connect with Survivor-Led Organizations: Seek out organizations led by survivors of human trafficking. They provide valuable services and mentoring for other survivors, helping them navigate their journey from victim to survivor to a thriving individual.

In the face of adversity and despair, people can find the strength to weather life’s storms and emerge victorious. Survivor-led organizations play a crucial role in this process, guiding individuals who have endured traumas such as human trafficking through a journey of recovery, empowerment, and renewal. Comprising individuals who have themselves experienced and overcome similar hardships, these organizations provide a beacon of hope through their valuable services and mentoring initiatives. They foster an environment where survivors can freely express their thoughts, feelings, and fears. 


These organizations encourage survivor participation in their operations, drawing on their unique insights, experiences, and strengths. This approach promotes mutual understanding and empathy and empowers survivors to reclaim their lives—who better to understand and assist a survivor than a fellow survivor? Drawing from her conversation with Zencastr, Amanda Blackwood speaks vividly about her experience with such survivor-led organizations. These groups played a pivotal role in her journey from being a victim of human trafficking to becoming a survivor and thriving individual. She mentioned organizations in Colorado like Compass 31 and Beautiful Feet Wellness, which offer various supportive services, from yoga classes to retreats, designed to uplift survivors’ spirits and strengthen their resolve. 



They enabled Amanda and others like her to share their stories, contributing to a broader understanding of the issue and extending a lifeline to those still grappling with their situations. The role of survivor-led organizations is critical to the overall fight against human trafficking. They serve as lifelines for individuals caught in the tumultuous sea of their traumatic past and act as vanguards against the scourge of trafficking. By highlighting their stories, shedding light on the hidden corners of this issue, and providing concrete solutions to ensure survivors’ well-being, these organizations effectively combat the proliferation of human trafficking. 



They contribute to a broader societal shift, fostering empathy and challenging misconceptions associated with trafficking survivors. In doing so, these organizations disrupt the cycle of victimization and set the stage for survivors to step into roles as change-makers, empowering others in similar predicaments and leading the charge against this global issue. The significance of their work cannot be understated—it offers not just a lifeline but a beacon of hope for countless individuals worldwide.


Conclusion

The issue of human trafficking is paramount, particularly to individuals who support survivors of this heinous crime. Understanding the intricacies of this problem, recognizing the red flags, and being mindful of where your donations go are essential steps in contributing to the fight against human trafficking. The steps outlined here can guide you toward making a tangible difference. Ensuring your support goes to survivor-led organizations with firsthand knowledge and experience to make a real change is crucial. It’s equally important to be aware that not all trafficking is sex-based; labor trafficking is a substantial issue often overlooked. By understanding these points and putting what you’ve learned into action, you can become a powerful ally in the fight against human trafficking.