I Come Prepared: The Global Forum on Human Trafficking
I come prepared. Okay maybe not always…
It started at 12am three years ago. A last minute phone call telling me someone would pay for my flight to San Diego, California. So I booked a flight and put on Facebook that I needed an early morning ride to the airport.
We arrived late and for the first time in my life, I missed a flight. Instead, I ended up on a 3-hour bus ride to the next major airport.
Two flights and 5 hours later then expected, I arrived in San Diego, with an address in hand, no phone, and no plan.
They had said on the website I could take public transport to the location.
So I jumped on another bus, and then a train, and then got off at a stop that I hoped was close to where I needed to go.
I exited the train station and realized I was in an industrial area, on the side of a highway, with no shops, no houses, buses, or taxi’s in sight.
No phone, no plan, just an address. So I sat down on the side of the road to think.
Eventually I saw a guy sitting in a van with an iPhone. So I walked up to him and asked him to look up the location. “Its about 7 miles from here”, he said, “Are you going to walk?”
I was planning to.
He offered me a ride. Nice guy, good thing he wasn’t a human trafficker or this story would have ended differently.
And So I arrived. At the Global Forum on Human Trafficking.
I met my friend and she said to me, “I had no idea how you were going to get here, I was thinking maybe you were going to hitchhike.” Hahaha
She had no idea.
But I had arrived.
It’s funny to think back on the moments that make you who you are today, and realize it all could have gone differently.
The Global Forum on Human Trafficking was for me the launching of a life journey into full time abolition that I had no idea would turn out the way it has so far. Thank goodness for the nice guy, in the van, with the iPhone.
The event was about 800 people, of which I knew only two. I sat quietly in the different sessions, hearing stories from people who were changing the world.
This was beyond raising awareness of about the millions people living in slavery. This was even beyond a discussion of what should be done to create change.
This was change in action.
This was the opportunity to hear from people who were on the ground, dedicating their lives to create a society free from slavery and human trafficking. They were doing this in original ways, through their regular jobs, as a businessman, a police officer, a social worker, a celebrity, or a politician.
I sat in the audience listening to those people, hearing their stories, and knowing I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to make a difference.
“There are times to read history, and there are times to make history. We live right now in one of those epic moments in the fight for human freedom.” – Dr. David Batstone, Not For Sale
On that October day in San Diego in 2009, I wanted to help make history.
This October once again marks the Global Forum on Human Trafficking. This year I am coming a little more prepared. Someone is going to pick me up from the airport (Sorry random strangers in vans, your services will not be needed). I am going to know more then two people in the room, and I won’t just be sitting in the audience.
That’s what can happen when we step into the movement for freedom. There is a role for everyone in the fight against human trafficking, and when we find our role and do it with our whole heart, we will see change begin to happen.
So even though this year at the Global Forum my role has changed a lot, one thing hasn’t changed. That is, the passion that is ignited, the inspiration that begins to bubble, the excitement of hearing from other leaders in the movement, the launching that comes with being part of a global event and the joining of forces from all sectors of society. These things are still the same, no matter who you are in the event. And it is through events like the Global Forum that people are moved from interested in the movement, to being active in it.
Those things are going to be there for me. I know they are going to be there for others who attend this event, whether you know two people in the room, or you know two hundred.
And for those of you who are not attending the Global Forum in person, this is an invitation to you, don’t miss out on the opportunity to join with people all around the world in creating real change for the issue of Human Trafficking.
Over the next few days I am going to be covering the Global Forum on Human Trafficking through social justice magazine, Eye See Media.
Join us on their website for more posts, follow @EyeSeeMedia on twitter for ongoing updates throughout the Global Forum, and of course, join the conversation by asking questions and posing your thoughts about the event via tweets or in the comments section under my posts on their website.
This year I am coming prepared to get the most out of the Global Forum.
And I am inviting you along for the ride.