by Ksena Spencer
December is HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, Universal Human Rights Month, Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness Month and Dressember.
Dressember’s movement is to spread awareness for human trafficking and to fight against it by wearing a dress or tie during December.
“I didn’t know about Dressember until now,” junior Alaina Blend said. “I do like the cause and spreading awareness for human trafficking and I would definitely help fundraise.”
The fundraising program started in 2009, when Dressember CEO and Founder Blythe Hill challenged and pledged herself to wear a dress every day of December. More and more people joined to challenge themselves until this pledge turned into a way for anyone to fight against human trafficking and spread awareness.
“Most of the tips I’ve heard about how to be cautious and avoid being trafficked have been learned from social media or my family,” Blend said. “Schools should do more to spread awareness.”
Every December people across the world make a pledge to wear a dress or tie for all 31 days of the month. They are able to make their own website through Dressember’s main site to start their campaign. The journey starts with making a money goal, promoting it in communities and through social media.
The website sells pins that say, “ask me about my dress,” or tie to catch people’s attention so they want to ask and learn more about the cause.
According to https://bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/human-trafficking-data-collection-activities-2022, a total of 2,198 persons were referred to U.S. Attorneys for human trafficking offenses in 2020, a 62% increase from the 1,360 persons referred in 2011. In 2020, for the 47 states that reported data, 1,564 persons were in prison serving a sentence for a human trafficking offense.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings through recruitment or abduction by means of force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of forced labor, debt bondage or sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, nationality, immigration status, cultural background, religion and education attainment level.
Making out a number of how many victims there are is difficult due to the fact that the crime of it is often hidden and offenders try to keep their actions secretive.
Trafficking victims are usually forced to live in small spaces with many other people, no heat and no electricity.
Donating to these campaigns that people make through Dressember is a good way to support victims and survivors of human trafficking.
“I think we should do a fundraiser, I think it would bring awareness to the students and help the community,” senior Taylor Werts said.
Dressember is a way to fight against human trafficking and spread awareness during the month of December. Women and men all around the world can easily participate in the pledge to wear a dress or tie every day. These clothing articles are usually something people already own so not too much money is spent on it.
“I didn’t know what Dressember was at first, but after looking into it, I’m very glad there’s something to bring awareness up about sex trafficking,” Werts said.