Human Trafficking: Heather Huffman is a Writer and Fighter
There are so many people out there in this world who are in need of awareness, support, and help — people who are abused, homeless, hungry...the list goes on and on. Thankfully, there are organizations out there to help. There are also people out there who are making a major difference. Heather Huffman is one of them.
She is a mother of three boys and newly-published writer of romantic suspense fiction from St. Louis, Missouri. She is also a passionate advocate for the ending of human trafficking, the practice of illegally trading human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or slavery.
She donates a portion of the royalties from the sale of her books, which involve the issue, to Project Liberty and other organizations that help rescue victims and raise awareness.
Recently, I chatted with her about how she came to be involved with it, and how she uses her writing abilities to make a difference in the world.
Question: How did you initially learn about the issue of human trafficking?
Answer: I first learned about modern-day slavery when I was conducting Internet research for my novel Throwaway, and I soon realized I’d stumbled across the tip of the iceberg. It snowballed from there. There was a vast and pervasive evil thriving right under our noses, and most people weren’t even aware of it.
Last year, about the time I was toying with the idea to use the books to raise awareness, I attended a human trafficking symposium. Many of the speakers were from organizations and coalitions that rescue victims and work to change legislation. I learned a lot, and it definitely solidified my decision. As I’ve become more involved in the fight, I’ve learned so much more. When you speak to those directly impacted—investigators, victims, families of victims—it puts a face to the numbers, and that changes everything.
Question: Why do you think this issue, above all others, so captured your attention that you would devote a portion of your royalties and your time to Project Liberty?
Answer: I could take pages to answer this one question. The shortest way I know to reply is this: I believe with all that I am that we were each created for a purpose. We all matter, and nobody is a throwaway. It bothers me to the core of my soul to know that 27 million people in this world are being treated so deplorably, and we don’t even notice. Since I started my work as an abolitionist, I’ve heard a lot of stories, but they never stop making me cry.
I look at my children and think there are streets in Tijuana lined with little ones, every bit as precious as mine, who have been drugged so adults can do unspeakable things to them. As a human being, I have a responsibility to not walk away from something like that, but rather to stand up and say, “This isn’t okay.” It’s such a massive issue; slavery has taken on so many forms. Although largely part of the sex industry, it’s also in the products we buy and the services we take for granted. Sometimes it feels insurmountable. But things will never change if we don’t do something, and these people are worth fighting for. I can’t kick down the doors to rescue victims, but I can be a voice. I can tell others what I know and help people find ways to plug in. And I can raise money for those who can kick down the proverbial doors.
Knowing what’s at stake, how could I not?
What will you do this year to help raise awareness for those who are in need?