Jada Pinkett-Smith began fighting the problem of human trafficking as soon as she learned about it—but that knowledge only came to her recently, in the form of information garnered from what her 11-year-old daughter, Willow, learned at school.
Somehow, even though thousands of people are trafficked in the United States every year, the problem has been disregarded and dismissed to the point that stories of victims and survivors alike rarely draw the attention of major media outlets.
Perhaps no longer, if Pinkett-Smith has anything to say about it. In an interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel on July 24th, the actress made it clear that she is now focused on using her star power to bring attention to the problem of trafficking, not only to the media and her fans, but also to Congress.
Recently, she had the opportunity to appear before Congress with three young women who have been victims of human trafficking in America. Learning that such exploitation and slavery had occurred in their own backyard was evidently quite a shock for some of the congressmen. “Not a lot of people realize that yes; this is a growing problem in the United States. So I felt really proud to give the women an opportunity to have a voice and also be able to sit with them to tell their stories to congressmen and senators in order to make a change,” Pinkett-Smith told reporter Micaela Hood.
Since learning about the problem, she has become active in seeking to end it. In addition to her recent appearance before our nation’s leaders, Pinkett-Smith has launched her own anti-trafficking organization, and continues to strive for greater awareness of the problem.
“I’m going to start creating a campaign and put a list of U.S. Congressmen and women on the website. We need to write letters to them in order to get the Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed,” she told Hood. “It’s already a bill, but it needs to be reauthorized as well as the Violence against Women Act, which is tied up with it. I also think we can start educating ourselves on what trafficking looks like so we can start recognizing it. There are creative ways to get involved, too. When I look at all of the huge movements in humanity, such as the Civil Rights Movement, I see that there is always art involved. Create movies, plays or place posters in your community.”
To visit Pinkett-Smith’s anti-trafficking organization, go to Don’tsellbodies.org