Song Themes & Inspiration

The Problem

There are more people in slavery now than ever before in human history. 40 million people around the world, including 10 million children, are victims of forced labor or sex trafficking. In the US alone, there are hundreds of thousands of children being sold online for sex each day, bringing in $150 billion a year for their traffickers. And it’s happening in YOUR neighborhood, even if you don’t see it. Exploited kids come from all walks of life; all races, all colors, all genders, all cities. Yet we still think of it as something that happens somewhere else to someone else. Maybe we even still think of it as a “victimless crime.” Modern slavery exists because we don’t see it for what it is.

Why Can’t We See the Problem?

We don’t see the problem because we’re told it isn’t really a problem. In music, TV, movies, and social media we’re told that it’s just a normal part of life – “the oldest profession” – or maybe even an exciting and mysterious underworld. “Pimps” are glamorized as streetwise businessmen and even cultural icons. “Working girls” are pictured as trying to make a better living. But for millions of kids worldwide, their lived reality is far from what we’re told. For them, it’s about a dozen cruel strangers each day paying their trafficker for the privilege of raping and abusing them while the rest of the world refuses to take notice.

What Can I Do to Help?

You can help create a world where we refuse to tolerate exploitation. Your music can open eyes. It can change attitudes. It can change minds. By changing minds, it can change this problem.

What Should My Music Say or Do?

Your music should always speak YOUR truth, using YOUR voice. Deep down, everyone can tell the difference between a “real” song and a “fake” song. “Real” songs resonate with the listener. “Fake” songs don’t. If you want to change minds, your music must be authentic to you and your experiences. If you believe that all people have such innate worth that they should never be bought or sold like property, then use your music in your style with your voice to say so. Some artists will feel compelled to write about the tragedy of stolen innocence or about the inhumanity and brutality of it all. Others will feel that they should write about the celebration of human worth or the hope for a world without exploitation. There are as many ways to make an impactful song as there are artists who want to make an impact. Regardless of which path you choose, you WILL change minds if your music is genuine. That’s why your fans listen to you.

Where Can I Learn More?

On this page, there are external links such as “Human Trafficking 101” or “How to Spot Trafficking.” We encourage you to visit these and learn more so that you can write authentically. Or simply visit IJM’s website at to get a fuller picture of the problem and what is being done about it worldwide.

Graphics to Share
Human Trafficking 101
How to spot trafficking