Here in America, because we like to think we abolished slavery. And we did, to an extent. We made it illegal for one person to own another. But like every other thing made illegal, those intent on making money from it find ways to do it secretly. Or in plain sight.
Technically, slavery has been abolished everywhere in the world. In 1981, Mauritania became the last country to make slavery illegal. Modern slavery is often referred to as Human Trafficking. It’s estimated that up to 1,000,000 individuals are enslaved to others, the vast majority being female.
I became aware of this disturbing issue via Facebook a few years ago. A friend posted something from Shared Hope International, probably the foremost voice against sex trafficking in the country. As I read and researched the topic a little, I realized I was shocked and saddened that such a thing exists, but not at all surprised. Slavery has been a boil on the butt of humanity since the dawn of time.
Sex slavery is nothing new, either. But that doesn’t make it less appalling, especially since it’s flourishing here in the US, and its victims are teens, even young children. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 thousand teens are being held in captivity to be sold for sex as I write this. Some are “owned” by pimps, some are sold by their own parents.
Does this knowledge not break your heart?
After I started following Shared Hope International and receiving their email updates, I was made aware of StreetLightUSA, which is an non-profit in the Phoenix, AZ area that provides transitional housing and services for teen girls leaving sex trafficking as well as victims of sexual abuse. Besides housing, they provide counseling, education, mentors, activities and other essentials to help these young victims recover from the life they were forced into. This is funded largely through donations of time, money and practical items. StreetLightUSA is the largest facility of its kind in the US. They have big plans to meet the ever growing need.
I have the privilege of volunteering as the manager of StreetLightUSA’s Twitter account. It’s been very educational, as well as rewarding as I help spread awareness of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking and its impact on the lives of the young victims.
January has been proclaimed as Human Trafficking Awareness Month by President Obama. As one concerned about this, I’ll up my blogging this month to provide information and resources to help my readers become more aware and possibly decide to take action against modern-day slavery in whatever form makes sense to you.
When one person is abused, the entire human race is diminished. As individuals, we can’t end this horror, but educated and united, we can.
Do Something! Click on the links to Shared Hope and StreetLightUSA and see what these two organizations do. Like their Facebook Pages and follow on Twitter to show you support their work and to keep updated in the work against sex trafficking.