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I had been to New York City before, enough times to consider myself more knowledgeable than the average tourist. After all, I have seen the Empire State Building, been to Times Square, and walked through Central Park. Hey, I can even work the subway system. I thought that I knew NYC.

I didn’t. New York City is more than beautiful clothes and people, as I quickly discovered during a trip there for serving the homeless. The trip was undoubtedly an eye-opener about the degree of homelessness and also, poignantly, about myself.

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 There are an estimated 27 million individuals worldwide who are currently victims of human trafficking, according to Kevin Bales, an expert on human trafficking. According to the United Nations organization Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), human trafficking is defined as the circumstance in which someone is held against their will through force, fraud, or coercion without being able to freely leave the situation; it is quite literally modern-day slavery.

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The sole purpose of TOMS Shoes, pardon the pun, is to provide quality footwear for both those who can afford it and those who cannot, around the globe. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates another pair to a needy child. 150,000 pairs and counting.

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