The numbers are too vast to calculate at any given moment and rising rapidly - in general and in direct relation to the pandemic - leading to this ever-expanding epidemic of sex trafficking of minors. I cannot help but ruminate in my mind and heart as to how this equates to seconds, minutes, hours, days and years of torture, pain and hopelessness.
How many tears have these girls sobbed? How many internal and external bruises have they endured? How many repeated horrific sexual bondage acts to perform? How many near death experiences, considering that maybe it would be better to die?
How many stars are in a galaxy?
The articles, research, webinars, and results are insurmountable and attributed to the committed and continued efforts of all participants involved. Government participation, law enforcement, national and local organizations, counselors, communities, volunteers, observant citizens, and foundations that provide a respite for survivors are increasing. Bringing this crisis to the forefront with the quest to eradicate this looming evil industry, although daunting, is empowering and encouraging from every perspective and direction with the diligence to persevere.
There is power in the accessibility and opportunity of what is available for awareness and proactive contributions from small to large in any way, shape or form.
These efforts have many layers to peel back and witness the successes of all these accomplishments. There are new laws to protect the victims, harsher punishments for the traffickers, elimination of website participation and sexually exploitative paraphernalia available from companies that encourage and distribute such material. To my astonishment, humorous books about child sexual abuse grooming are being distributed and wind up in the hands of young readers without awareness to its true meaning! Horrible!
Putting things in motion…
Awareness is increasing about businesses that cultivate child sex trafficking. State and governmental agencies are increasing support for organizations that incorporate training methods to recognize possible trafficking while decreasing availability for the patrons of these sexual services provided behind closed doors. Preventive action must increase so the multitude of companies can no longer turn a blind eye to these heinous acts in the name of financial gain.
Because of the continued invisible exploitation and dehumanization, the victims become intangible in their own existence. However, they are tangible in being a commodity, generating billions of dollars to justify the traffickers’ means to an end.
With so many levels of attack, I ask myself:
How can I reach out to be an advocate?
How can I participate in efforts to protect these vulnerable children from becoming victims in the first place?
We know it happens very easily globally and next door, at every economic level.
I keep coming back to prevention on a grassroots level. Mainly educating the children, from middle to high school ages and beyond. These children need to be aware and scared, completely fearful of the wolf in lamb’s clothing. Their minds are too vulnerable and not equipped to realize the potential horrors that exist behind the misinterpretation of kindness.
So how can some of these efforts be presented to children, to Beware and Be Aware, to prevent and protect themselves and others from becoming victims to this atrocious and evil existence?
I found the resources below to be easily accessible, with very informative and realistic education for teens and adults alike, within the home and larger audiences. This is an opportunity for open discussions between parents/adults and peers, especially when the children may not want to listen to the caring people in their life, which is totally common for these young age groups. Examples of the “What if …?” and “How would you …?” questions provide further realistic recognition, revelation and protection of potential harm.
I hope some of the sites and information will assist you in helping young children to beware and afraid of the heinous grooming and lies that capture them not only emotionally, but into a life that may have no possibilities of coming to a happy end.
For those that present the ‘North Star’ to these children/victims, rescued and otherwise, you can only be highly praised and blessed for your heart felt call to the higher source of love, acceptance and future blessings!
I have been given this wonderful opportunity to write an article for the StreetLightUSA Newsletter and Blog. Hopefully this will encourage those that are and can become proactive (myself included) for these pursuits by contributing to the sustaining and continued efforts put forth by all.
Thank you for allowing me into your hearts and families.
God speed and bless.
Ann Marie Schara 9/7/2020
The Agencies and Foundations that offer online webinars are as follows:
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office: Mark Brnovich
The Outreach Program:
Webinars – They are for teens and parents:
There are 2 separate lists (scroll down) live for upcoming events and past prerecorded
Criminal tab, select Human Trafficking:
Cites prosecutions and programs in place
There are prevalent and current related issues to be heard and viewed on the Webinar list, such as Internet Security and Prevention of Suicide.
Blind Eyes USA: A film that follows survivors for 7 years as they tell their stories. The insight from them into adulthood and from National and Local organizations and law enforcement discusses the existing obstacles in place. It can be viewed online and DVD.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation – NCOSE:
The Dirty Dozen List: For businesses that encourage and distribute material and support of the sex trafficking industry. The current list for 2020 and previous years are provided as well as what we can do to prevent these businesses from doing so.
Training and Resources United to Stop Trafficking/TRUST:
Many upcoming live webinars along with other organizations.
All these sites have a wealth of information with additional links on their sites, many of which provide webinars and prerecorded information also.
World Without Exploitation/WorldWE:
This is a must-read due to the enormous accomplishments of their efforts, including as Teen Summit. They have events to view as well.