LifeWay Commemorates International Day of the World’s Indigenous People and Women’s Equality Day

This August, LifeWay Network recognizes and celebrates two important days: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People and Women’s Equality Day. While human trafficking can happen to anyone, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and women are among the most vulnerable to being trafficked due to the societal and systemic disadvantages they face.1 Despite these challenges, we honor the contributions of women from diverse backgrounds and acknowledge that we must continue to fight for the rights of all individuals regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity.

What is International Day of the World’s Indigenous People? 

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People takes place on August 9, and the theme this year is “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination.”2 The day raises awareness about different Indigenous populations, safeguards their rights and highlights all the contributions that indigenous peoples make. As a whole, there are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world living across 90 countries; they make up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but account for 15 percent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages, represent 5,000 different cultures and are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world.3 Globally, 47% of all indigenous peoples in employment have no education, compared with 17% of their non-indigenous counterparts. This gap is even wider for women.4 With all of this information, it is crucial that we all recognize Indigenous peoples’ contributions to our world as well as continue to help when it comes to the disadvantages they face, especially Indigenous women.  

What is Women’s Equality Day? 

On August 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a day that commemorates the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Passed in 1973 by the U.S. Congress, the day recognizes the struggles of women who fought to prohibit the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States based on sex.5 The day calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality and lets us remember the individuals who fought for the rights that women have today. 

Connection to LifeWay

At LifeWay Network, both diversity and inclusion play a key role in our organization. Since its founding in 2007, LifeWay has served more than 155 women from 38-plus countries through our safe housing program; one of the only organizations in the metro NYC area to offer long-term safe housing to both foreign and domestic-born women survivors of human trafficking in all its forms (i.e. sex, labor and organ trafficking). At the safe housing program, women from many unique backgrounds are provided with the resources they need to rebuild their lives — from the help of social workers to mental health counseling to legal support, to connections with educational and job training opportunities. As a women-led and women-run organization, we believe that it is crucial to support women all around the world, and through the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People and Women’s Equality Day, we can do that. By supporting both these days, you can promote equality and raise awareness about the contributions of women as well as the continuing disadvantages that women face, especially those who are indigenous peoples or people of color. 

How can you support?

  • Learn more about the anti-trafficking movement in New York State and why LifeWay stands with the New Yorkers for the Equality Model to protect survivors and victims of trafficking:
  • Increase your community’s awareness of the anti-trafficking movement by requesting a public speaking engagement. Email Josephine Crisostomo, director of education, training and advocacy at LifeWay Network, at [email protected].
  • Stay connected with LifeWay Network and show your support by attending our upcoming events:
  • Make a donation today! Your support will directly impact the lives of survivors, providing them with the resources, support and opportunities they need to heal, rebuild their lives and reclaim their future: 

By Beatrice Johnson, LifeWay Network High School Volunteer