All, if not most high schools consist of a broad curriculum consisting of four core subjects, as well as numerous electives and advanced placement classes. In my three years of high school I believe the topic of human trafficking was only brought up once in health, a required course in the tenth grade, and never again. The topics of sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse, adultery, and many more are discussed, but the topic of human trafficking never is. Unlike evolution and sex-ed, human trafficking is not a topic of debate or controversy. It is an issue sweeping all countries, and affecting thousands and even millions of girls, boys and their families.”
So with this perspective in mind, I took my new friend Cassie with me to see the screening of the “Playground Project” a documentary by Libby Spears that puts into perspective how this crime reeks havoc on young people’s lives. After we left Cassie said, “No one gets it, everyone needs to see this film.” And, while I agreed with her I also relayed to her the difficulties in getting our society to accept a film on this difficult issue of sex crimes, prostitution, and human trafficking. Our society is much more open to hear about drugs, gangs, and even killing but there is something that makes people queasy when it comes to sex crimes. But Cassie reminded me of the words of the producer Libby about why this film is so important, “Wherever drugs are sold people are sold too.” While this is a realization that many would prefer to process into short term memory and forget rather then encode and store in long term memory for constant retrieval both Cassie and I decided this is a lesson that must be repeatedly taught. So, together, we decided that we are going to do our part in our respective populations, circle of friends, regions or the country to educate people about this prolific problem.
So here is what we learned and what we want to share with you so that you begin to view the issue with eyes wide open and instead of with your head buried in the sand.
- Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: * Forcing victims into prostitution * Subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude * Compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography * Misleading victims into debt bondage.
- Human trafficking is big business. Although estimates vary, it is thought that about $7-9.5 billion is made every year from human trafficking.
- Worldwide, it is estimated that somewhere between 700,000 and four million women, children and men are trafficked each year, and no region is unaffected.
- Despite an estimated prevalence of 100,000 to 150,000 slaves in the U.S., fewer than 1,000 victims have been assisted through the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement since 2001, when services for trafficking victims were first made available.
- Traffickers typically lure women and children with false promises of jobs, money, or security. They are promised jobs as waitresses, nannies, models, factory workers but once they accept “invite,” they suffer extreme physical and mental abuse, including rape, imprisonment, forced abortions, and physical brutality.
- As many as 2.8 million children live on the streets, a third of whom are lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
We are on a mission to educate society and make human trafficking something so understandable that it rolls off your tongue like “Just say no,” or the recognition of “Pink” as the color of breast cancer awareness. We hope that you will join us by spreading the word.