Three years ago, the closest I ever came to a victim of sex trafficking was Law and Order: SVU.
Today, my degree of separation is one.
My friends, K & K, have traveled to Cambodia and seen the results of human trafficking first hand. They work with Rapha House, an organization fighting child trafficking and sexual exploitation by bringing hope and freedom.
They’ve touched the hands of victims. They’ve cried with the survivors. They’ve experienced the heinous abuse and degradation through the eyes of those who lived it.
- The average age of a trafficked victim is 12-14 years old (U.S. Department of Justice)
- 1.2 million children are being trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking (UNICEF)
- Almost 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. (U.S. Dept of State)
There are girls as young as 5 and 6 years old in the U.S. that are forced to do sexual acts for economic gain by their pimp (USDOJ)
. . . and what am I doing?
Watching episodes on a television.
Another friend, DP, is part of an organization called the International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.
A verse I hear constantly in conversations about IJM is Micah 6:8. I want to tattoo part of it on my foot.
You might be saying, “that’s great, but what am I supposed to do about it?”
Thanks for asking!
1. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim. Be safe. Be smart.
2. Stop using products made by the victims. There are several sites that will tell you which brands and products are part of the Fair Trade movement. You can take a quiz to see roughly how many slaves are working for you. I didn’t go into full detail, so I am sure my number is actually higher.
4. Both Rapha House and IJM have other “Take Action” ways you can get involved.