21 June, 2010

Dads Can Fight Slavery

Change.Org posted the following list of things Dads can do to fight slavery. It's a good list. We can all play a part in stopping the slave trade - and this is a practical list for an effort that too often becomes women focused and women led.

The biggest thing dads can do to end slavery - stop buying porn and purchasing women. Also, change the culture and stop making it "cool" or okay to do so. Stop making it fun to stand there with your friends and turn women into objects with your words and actions - would you want someone discussing your little girl like that? Also, teach your sons to respect women, to not purchase porn, to protect and defend the freedom of all people (see #5). Dads are influential and kids listen (even if we act like we don't.) So start by saying something...

Reprinted from Change.org

10 Things Dads Can Do to Fight Slavery:
I've noticed one common thread in all the Father's Day commercials this year -- they seem to think dads are kinda doofy. They pogo stick into traffic, spill food all over the place, and generally need a lot of guidance. Well, I disagree. I think dads are amazing, and they have the power to change the world and end slavery through their own lives and their families. So in honor of Father's Day, I've put together a list of ten things amazing dads can do to end slavery and make the world a freer, better place for all of us:
10. Talk to your kids about slavery. As a dad, you already know the importance of educating your kids outside school. Talk to them about human trafficking and modern-day slavery in a way it connects to them. For younger kids, simply learning that not all other kids have what they do is a big step. Older kids and teens can get more involved with some of the tougher issues.
9. Become a Defender. The Defenders is a campaign by men, for men, declaring that real men protect and defend women and children -- they don't buy and exploit them. You can check out the Defender's pledge here. Consider celebrating Father's Day by standing with dads all over the world who are fighting human trafficking.

8. Switch to Fair Trade coffee. When you hit up your local Starbucks (or even better, an independent coffee shop) ask them for Fair Trade coffee. If they don't have it, ask if they can get some. Companies respond to consumer requests. If your office supplies coffee, ask if they can switch to Fair Trade as well.
7. Make your home a safe place. When I was growing up, my dad didn't let my friends and I get away with too many shenanigans at our house. But they all knew it was a safe place for them to come, whether things were really bad at home or they just needed an adult to talk to other than their parents. Sometimes, having a safe place to go can be what keeps a kid off the street and away from traffickers.
6. Build something for an anti-trafficking organization. Whether your skills are with a nail gun, an accounting book, or a guitar, volunteer to build or create something for a local anti-trafficking organization. Fix up an old car, create a fundraiser, or revamp their website -- whatever you're good at. They and their clients will thank you.
5. Be a role model for boys and young men. Human trafficking isn't a women's issue, it's everyone's issue. Teach boys and young men about respecting women, having healthy relationships, and treating women as equal. Even just modeling that behavior in your own life in front of boys can make a huge difference. More more info, check out this great group.
4. Demand better gadgets. And by better, I don't mean longer battery life. Ask the companies that make your favorite gadgets about how they monitor their supply chains, and demand they do what it takes to give you slavery-free electronics.
3. Host a 'Daddy Daycare' fundraiser. How much would you pay for a free Saturday afternoon alone or with your partner? Host a fundraiser where you watch and entertain the children of friends for a day, for a nominal fee. The cash goes to prevent trafficking, your friends have a relaxing child-free day, and you will earn a well-deserved nap at the end of the day.
2. Rethink your t-shirt collection. Pay attention to where your clothes come from, and I don't mean from a fashion standpoint. Try and buy from brands and stores which support fair treatment of workers and human rights. You have the power to make sure the shirt on your back doesn't take one off of someone else's.
1. Volunteer as a family. Teaching your kids to give back to their community is one of the most important things dads can do. My dad did it for me (and still takes groups of kids to build houses for Habitat for Humanity), and I'm so glad he did. Volunteering with my family really helped me learn the importance of being a responsible citizen of my community, my country, and the world.
Thanks so much dad, for all you've done for me and for everyone else who needed you. Happy Fathers Day!
Photo credit: DVIDSHUB