cathy terranova blog

I hate pants. Over the years I have cultivated a collection of items in my wardrobe that ensure I have to wear pants as little as possible. I really hate them.
My skin is stupidly sensitive, so having denim rubbing on it all day makes me dry and itchy. I’m not ashamed to admit that the doctor gave me medicated lotion and even that doesn’t last a whole day.

My wonderful mother hates dresses. But she lovingly partakes in Dressember. That’s what gave me the idea. Why not ride the wave of slavery awareness? January is even Human Trafficking Awareness month. I hate jeans. I’ll wear jeans as an itchy reminder to talk about exploited boys and men. It sounded simple enough.

What these blue shackles have taught me is that people don’t really understand yet how often men and boys are exploited. When I bring it up people are usually floored by the truth behind the statistics. They recognize that it’s a problem, but not what some studies show, that it’s up to 50% of those who are sex trafficked are men and boys.

Even a larger idea than that busts wide open the myth that men are only aggressors. Most of the people in slavery today are in forced labor situations, meaning they cannot leave under threat of violence. That’s right, some slaves are even compensated for their work, but they are still held under coercion tactics and often, brainwashing. Many of these millions of people are men. International Justice Mission has rescued multiple generations of families from brick factories. That includes men and boys.

Gary Haugen talks about how violence makes people vulnerable. It’s true. Violence of any kind put children and adults both at risk. Vulnerable people are desperate people. It could be a tantalizing offer of a promising job far away, or it could be someone sacrificed for the rest of the family, or it could even be someone who really thought they were out of options.

Males are not excluded from any of those things. Men and boys are given up to their circumstances every day, in the U.S. as well as other countries.

We can’t keep ignoring the simple fact that slavery knows no one race, ethnicity, nationality, or gender.

This month I challenge you to do some reading. Speak out, in an educated way, about the prevalence of slavery. It’s not just about sex trafficking or women in sweat shops. It’s about child soldiers, boys in mineral mines and fishing villages and rug shops and rose farms, men at brick factories and shrimp farming; men and boys slaving away in sugar fields, coca fields, coffee plantations, and cotton fields.

There are millions of people in slavery. Millions are women and girls. Millions are men and boys. We need to do something.

Donate this month to Restore One, International Justice Mission, Polaris Project, your local homeless shelter, or any of the myriad groups out there combating slavery.


photo credit: <a href=”″>Some Jeans I Own.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Awareness, boys, human trafficking, Jeanuary, men, modern day slavery, rethink trauma, slavery, trafficking