Human exploitation and trafficking is far more common than we realize. Human Trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Unlike many other forms of violence, to have your person stolen is a unique expression of repression. To inhabit a body that is not your own, to care for or use is the most shame-filled prisons. Nearly 1 out of s4 survivors will attempt suicide after being rescued or escaping.
I’m choosing to focus on Sex Trafficking because this pandemic has effected my own life via the beautiful femmes I call family. The sex trade invisibly impacts as many as 200,000 people with in the US, 800,000 people trafficked through international borders, and 17,500 foreign nationals that are trafficked into the US. This month I will share some resources on human sex trafficking and highlight the work of my dear mentor and sister @reginasdoor. We must become aware of the injustices happening around us so we can become more human in our ways.
As an introduction to the matter, I introduce the film Very Young Girls, an expose of the lives of 13-14 year old girls who are "boyfriended" and then sold in the streets of NYC. Boyfriending is a coercive strategy that is frequently used to gain the trust of girls and women before sexually exploiting them. The victim is made to believe they are in a loving relationship with the predator who is manipulating their vulnerable state of mind. The film is quite graphic in detail, yet very necessary as a discussion topic for young people. Youth need to be protected from predators with armor of knowledge to the things happening to their peers.
If you search on youtube, you might be surprised to see how many videos people are sharing of their stories and close encounters. These stories include being at hotel pools, riding in ubers, the school yard, using facebook and dating websites, and even answering ads in classifieds when seeking employment. It's truly shocking to be confronted with the pervasiveness of this issue. The victims do not always fit the same socioeconomic profile, yet what is often frequently preyed on is trust and the false sense of familiarity and safety. Though approximately 100,000 foster care youth make up 60% of the children trafficked, victims come from a variety in walks of life.
Here are some stories and documentaries I have archived that cover both national and international sex trafficking: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6kVUHudGgfpX2bLCQ79gxgO1cqzUPeuy
It's important that we make ourselves aware of how this happens and also some key things to know about so you can spot the signs of trafficking:
Spot the signs of trafficking: https://hopeforjustice.org/spot-the-signs/
A problem of this magnitude is so pervasive and multi-faceted. Human trafficking is not limited to the sex trade, it also consists of labor trafficking and organ trafficking. All forms of trafficking are usually executed through manipulation and the exploitation of vulnerable populations, people that historically lack effective political protection. Immigrants and minority women/girls are often the most frequent targets. As of today the US has 230,000 missing minority people and of that number approximately 75,000 are black women and girls.
Here is a list of some great organizations that advocate for the end of human trafficking with strong instagram presences:
January 2021 is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month while Jan. 11 is the official day for Human Trafficking Awareness, please get involved and share some resources. Education is the first step to protecting our communities.
Donate to Anti-Slavery Organization. Some organizations consider donating to include Agape International Missions, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, and Polaris.
Volunteer to End Human Trafficking Any anti-slavery organization in your community, a club on your campus, or professional establishment nearby would be grateful for your help. Endslaverynow.org offers an Antislavery Directory to help you find organizations that you can donate your time to if purse strings are tight.
Foster Education on Human Trafficking There are many misconceptions about human trafficking today - so get educated and help others do the same.