I never thought about this song until I was about to start writing. “What song?” You may ask. It is Rihanna’s Umbrella song. In the lyrics she said, “You can stand under my umbrella.” Umbrella is used for protection during rain or shine. It is a handy tool for unfriendly weather.
I found out few days ago that the United Methodist Women are taking action to protect victims of human trafficking in the United States by using umbrella. They called it “You Intercept the Traffickers Photo Campaign” by opening an umbrella.
For a few years now, it has become public secret that there is usually sex trafficking, a form of human trafficking going on during the national game – Super Bowl. In fact, there are several reports about the FBI rescuing girls from sex trafficking during Super Bowl. A Fox News Report on February 4, 2014 revealed that the FBI rescued 16 children who are as young as 13 years old during the games. The title of the report, Missing children rescued from Super Bowl sex trade in FBI sting, informed the reader that some of the rescued children have been reported missing by their families.
In anticipation of the possibility of some children falling prey of sex trafficking, the United Methodist Women are asking its members to open their umbrellas to raise awareness about the issue as the Super Bowl will take place at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, February 5. According to an Alert issued by the women’s group, “The Super Bowl ranks second only to Thanksgiving as the day on which Americans consume the most food, and some of those who are trafficked will be serving food in restaurants or at catered parties related to the Super Bowl.”
They expressed the fear that some of them will be victims of labor trafficking who “…will clean hotel rooms, wash dishes, tidy nails…, deliver dry cleaning, or wash windows,” while others “will be trafficked as sex workers for escort services or in “gentlemen’s” clubs.”
Using sports language, they named the yellow dotted umbrella graphic End Zone, noting that the umbrella defense was named after the football defensive play created by the New York Giants coach, Steve Owen which “enabled the Giants to shut out the then formidable Cleveland Browns.”
The women encouraged their 800,000 members to take group pictures holding umbrellas with letters spelling out, “We are United Methodist Women opening umbrellas to intercept human trafficking.” The women were asked to share their pictures with #UMWumbrellas on social media and also send such to the conference communicators.
I learned about the umbrella campaign when I attended the Planning Session of the Executive Conference Committee of the UMW in Minnesota. I was there at Coon Rapids United Methodist Church to talk about my new appointment as a member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and my willingness to keep the line of communication open to listen to the public about the needs and how to improve on services for victims and survivors of human trafficking.
The meeting comprised of district presidents and conference officers of the UMW in Minnesota. I am looking forward to working more with these women to end human trafficking – sex and labor in our communities.
Open an umbrella and post it with #UMWumbrellas to join United Methodist Women to intercept human trafficking by showing survivors that you care.
PS: Join The Enitan Story students campaign against human trafficking. Subscribe below.
— SAASI (@usSAASI) January 26, 2016