December is one of my favorite months. Not only because of Christmas and the holiday season (which is a wonderful time of worship and praise), but also because I participate in something called Dressember. Like the name alludes, you wear dresses everyday for the whole month. This is the fifth year that Dressember will be celebrated. I love wearing dresses, so when I heard about this, I was excited to participate.

Dressember has always been a celebration of femininity and beauty. However, this year Dressember is aligning itself with the International Justice Mission. The IJM organization works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent expression. Now participants of Dressember are working to raise awareness and funds for IJM. “The heart of Dressember is freedom– that every woman, man, and child has the right to be free to live a vibrant life.” This is a quote taken from the Dressember website, Dressember.net. I think what the creators of Dressember have done is absolutely incredible, and I am excited to be able to participate this year.

Since Dressember is supporting IJM this year, I decided to do research on slavery and human trafficking so I would know exactly what I was rallying against. Let me warn you, the facts are not comforting; in fact, it hurts to read about the injustices that are happening. The reality is that these things are happening around the world, and it is important to know what is going on so we can fight against them. There are an average of 27 million slaves in the world today, which is more than at any other time in history. There are nearly 2 million children exploited in the global commercial sex trade, and they have no defender, nobody to protect them from injustice. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is estimated to be the third largest international crime industry, following behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking. There is an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women, and men across international borders annually. According to the U.S. State Department, approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors.  Finally, according to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking generates profits up to $32 billion.

These are just a few of the statistics that I found at ijm.org. I don’t know about you, but it broke my heart to read them. We are in an age where we thought we were past any kind of slavery, but it’s still here and more prevalent then ever. Anyone can participate in Dressember by wearing dresses, donating money, or by simply praying. Visit www.dressember.net or www.ijm.org for more information.