Zach Hunter had always thought he should’ve been born more than 200 years ago. Heartbroken by the idea of slavery, which he says is America’s “biggest blemish,” Hunter felt he could have made a difference alongside leaders of the anti-slavery movement that included Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
That perspective changed when Hunter discovered there are millions of people in various forms of slavery in the 21st century. He knew at that moment what God was calling him to.
“I just thought, Wow, I can do something to change the world,” says Hunter, who launched the student-led Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign while in middle school. He says there are billions of dollars in change in American households alone. “Why not take something as underestimated as the teenage years and something as underestimated as loose change and see what we can do?”
Now 18 years old, Hunter is already an international speaker and author of three books. But his mission has not changed: to raise awareness and funds to help end modern-day slavery in his lifetime.
He also hopes to focus more on prevention and helping others understand how “our consuming habits can fuel or help end the slave trade,” he says.
Another goal is to help people find their passions, which he expresses in detail in his most recent book, Lose Your Cool. “What does it take for somebody to sacrifice, to give up time, blood, sweat or tears for something? I think that’s passion, [and] I think another word for that is true love,” Hunter says. “If you love your neighbor as yourself, you don’t want them to suffer. If you love God, you’re going to live like it.”
Here’s what you can do to help put an end to global slavery.
1. Buy fair trade products. Much of human trafficking is fueled by money. Buying goods at rock-bottom prices can contribute to the need for cheap labor and result in more factories using slaves.
2. Get the word out. The more awareness and education brought to the issue of today’s slavery of both children and adults, the more difficult it will be for slave owners to buy and sell people.
3. Give. Numerous organizations actively fight modern-day slavery. Giving them your time and/or money could go a long way to fighting the epidemic.