Advances in digital technology can be used to fight human trafficking.

ORLANDO — January was the month when activists work to raise awareness of a devastating ongoing problem: human trafficking.
Starting on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, the month is dedicated to sounding the alarm and issuing a sobering reminder that we all possess a powerful weapon to fight human trafficking: digital communications.
The same tools that allow companies to connect directly with new and existing customers, and to encourage customers to embrace their products, also can be utilized in the global war against sexual slavery.

There are an estimated 21-30 million people who are enslaved in the world, more than at any time in human history. The tragic faces of modern slavery include children forced to become soldiers in bloody civil wars, girls as young as 13 who get sold into prostitution, and migrant workers exploited in the workforce.
The goal of Human Trafficking Awareness Day is to make the world a safer place by shining a global spotlight on modern human slavery. Too many people believe something should be done about it, but assume there’s nothing they can do. They’re wrong.
Fighting back starts with communication – including digital communication – and something as simple as your smart phone is a vital tool. Digital advancements are powerful tools for tackling complex problems that once seemed insurmountable.

• Save 888-373-7888, the number to the National Human Trafficking Resources Hotline, to your phone, because it’s entirely possible you might one day need it — and use it;
• Go online to the web page of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security . They have an online training course, available free of charge, on how to learn the signs and indicators of human trafficking so you can recognize and report them;
• Log on to Free The Slaves, a website dedicated to helping people learn more about how the average person can help.

Digital technology has provided all of us with remarkable resources that previous generations lacked – assuming we keep up to date on the latest advances. That’s particularly true for businesses hunting for new customers.
Right now, a lot of businesses are gearing up to launch their 2017 digital marketing strategy and to drive demand and boost conversations with customers.
Now is the time to plan your own digital marketing strategy for the rest of the year. Marketers now have a lot of powerful tools available to them on social media platforms like Facebook to Twitter. A persuasive digital marketing strategy allows you to convey your message and engage with readers. This is also your opportunity to tell a story about your products and make an emotional connection with readers.

Here are some key points to think about when developing a digital strategy for the year:
1. Virtually all new data consumption is coming from mobile. Is your site accessible to mobile users?
2. The average Internet browser spends up to two hours a day looking at social media networks. Are you using social media effectively?
3. Personalized email messages improve click-through rates. Are your emails personalized for the recipient?
4. Fifty-five percent of emails are opened on a mobile device.
5. Content marketing has become crucial for building customer loyalty, and longer blogs, coming in at more than 500 words, work best.

Digital advances allow us to do everything from fight human trafficking to successfully marketing our products and services. Take the time now to learn about the technology readily available.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at

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