This is the first post in a series I’ve entitled, “10 Questions for ….” (creative, I know). The purpose of this series is to raise awareness about local, national, and international organizations that are fighting many types of injustice. I hope that this series will inspire you to volunteer, donate, or simply follow the work of these incredible organizations. Thank you to Blue Nation, Inc. for answering my questions, and sharing their passion and vision with all of you. Enjoy!
1. What is the mission and purpose of Blue Nation?
Blue Nation Inc.’s mission is to eradicate human trafficking, exploitation, and poverty by providing training and resources to our internal and external network of advocates, and to foster working relationships between communities and established organizations.
2.What inspired the founding members of Blue Nation to start an anti-human trafficking organization in Corpus Christi, Texas?
In 2008, the founding members of Blue Nation, who are all from Corpus Christi, began learning of and responding to the needs of certain communities in southern Mexico. These communities included a home for very poor children, villages of people living at and around city dumps, and border towns who suffer from failing economies and increased violence.
The initial trips consisted of buying food at local businesses, and distributing it to those in need. Blue Nation members began establishing and building relationships with the local people. Through our work in the community, we were made painfully aware of the severity of human slavery (trafficking) on every level. Our members had also worked as caregivers and teachers at a children’s home and school in India. The Blue Nation members that were there saw human trafficking first hand. Other members of the Blue Nation network also visited various parts of Central America, Southern and Eastern Africa, and witnessed child trafficking and human slavery on every level.
Blue Nation’s tag line is “Free Feed Live.” We are a multi-faceted organization focusing on eradicating human trafficking, and assisting victims with life skills and sustainability opportunities through micro-lending and hunger relief.
3. What motivated the current Blue Nation team members to join the Blue Nation team?
The founding families of Blue Nation are the backbone of the organization, providing both guidance and structure to the organization. Blue Nation also has a team of community advocates who all work together toward the common goal of eradicating human trafficking. Most of the advocates started working with Blue Nation after they became aware of human trafficking (either through Blue Nation or other organizations), and felt compelled to take action against this atrocious crime against humanity.
4. What’s the significance of the name, “Blue Nation?”
The name “Blue” was chosen because the color represents life and humanity, and “Nation” was chosen because our goal is to extend our services across America and other nations as well.
5. What are the biggest challenges to raising awareness about human trafficking in Texas?
The greatest challenge in raising awareness is the lack of local statistics. One of the main questions we get asked is “how many victims are in our area.” Unfortunately, our community does not have a system or database in place to track this information, so we really have no way of knowing the number of victims in our area.
6. What achievements have you seen in fighting human trafficking in Texas since starting Blue Nation?
One of the greatest achievements would have to be the new laws that were passed in the 82nd Legislative Session. We are now providing law enforcement with the necessary tools to effectively combat this crime in Texas. Another achievement would be the working relationships that have been forged by the state’s four federally-funded human trafficking task forces. They are setting the example and paving the way for other communities to follow.
7. What upcoming events does Blue Nation have planned?
We have 2 events coming up in the near future. The next event will be in November and the guest speaker will be Blue Nation’s founder Sonya Martinez. Sonya is now the director of the Beautiful Dream Society, which is an anti-trafficking organization that is operating a crisis care shelter in Maseru, Lesotho for survivors of trafficking.
We are also planning a “Human Trafficking Awareness Week” in late January. We will dedicate an entire week of events to raise awareness about human trafficking. These events will take place at various locations throughout out the city.
8. How can I get involved with Blue Nation?
Contact Blue Nation regarding your interest, attend our forums/trainings, follow us on Facebook, and/or sign up to volunteer at any of our events.
9. Who do I contact if I’d like Blue Nation to provide training and/or education at my work/church/school/rally?
Contact Marlene Villarreal at (361) 728-4981 or email@example.com. Marlene is the Operations/Marketing Director for Blue Nation, and she will be more than happy to schedule a training/education seminar for your group.
10. How else can I get involved in the fight against Human Trafficking?
Attend forums, community events, and trainings on human trafficking. You a can be our eyes and ears in the community. You can financially support and/or volunteer your time with an organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking. Learn about the current legislative efforts to fight human trafficking, and ask your local representatives to support human trafficking legislation…You can be a voice for the silent voices.