When I first started Gina Cucina – I knew that an integral part of what I wanted to do was to give back, make an impact and to change lives. I thought that it would be through teaching people to choose to eat more cleanly- simple methods of preparing food that is good for them. Real food on the table every night in a clean and easy fashion.
Then a dear friend of mine invited me to join her in London for the “Trust Conference”. This was a game changer for me. Trust Conference is an initiative by the Thomson Reuters Foundation – They are determined to put the rule of law behind human rights. I was horrified to learn that there are 24.9 million people trafficked annually. (Human Rights First.) That it was a $150 billion dollar a year industry. That it has far surpassed illegal arms sales and was reported to surpass drug trafficking in a few short years. Modern-day slavery in 2018. I became obsessed with making a difference in any fashion I could. Most people believe that this only exists in third world countries – “over there”. The truth is – it’s right in our backyards.
The first step in eradicating this blight on humanity is to make people aware of the issue. Secondly, we must start prosecuting the end users – the people soliciting the sex as opposed to the ones providing it. We MUST define the crime, criminalize all forms – both sex and labor trafficking. Legislation and laws must be written that properly penalize the traffickers and the end users, and most importantly, not only written but actually enforced. We must open our eyes and work hand in hand with the survivors and law enforcement to prosecute the traffickers. In 2016, in the US, only 439 traffickers were convicted, that is up from 297 in 2015 (Trafficking in Persons Report). Great – but this is abysmal compared to the number of victims. We can do better.
Watch this video by the Michigan State Police – it shows everyday occurrences where you can be aware, take notice and report. In addition, go through the Truckers Against Traffickers simple and quick training course – it’s 26 minutes long. These 30 minutes you spend on making yourself aware of what the signs of trafficking are, can literally save a life. We at Gina Cucina, have all taken these steps. It’s important to our mission. It’s vital to the lives of the 24.9 million trafficked worldwide. Thank you.