by Anisha Hartwell, StreetLightUSA Volunteer and College Student
What is wrong with sex trafficking? Is it the action of selling and buying people for financial profit? Is it the part where traffickers lie and deceive to gain new victims? Or is it those tragic moments where a human is being taken advantage of, for what? Pleasure, satisfaction, pride, social stance, entertainment, or ownership?
While sex trafficking may seem like way too big an issue to overcome, I believe any effort given towards justice is greater than it feels. It can always grow, especially when shared.
There isn’t anything healthy or uplifting with sex trafficking and that alone is reason enough to show concern, to be worried. In the US alone, according to Homeland Security, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today. Sex trafficking is the second biggest crime. Trafficking can be performed through the internet, over the phone, in print magazines, on advertisements posted on streets, or in homes, by friends, partners, strangers, celebrities, anywhere there is social interaction.
In the past few months a video went viral on an unnamed social media platform where an innocent child was raped by an adult and it was recorded live during the act. The people who accidently watched the video spread the news of this atrocity so that it went viral and the world began to talk about it, and the issue of child sex trafficking.
While the US is a financially successful country and is progressive when it comes to child wellbeing, it also is a major hot spot for sex trafficking, because of all the ways people can message and connect without physical contact. Instead of having to meet each other in person, we can now just post ads, direct message, or go live to reach anyone in the world. It creates a lot more freedom in how people move their business from one place to another or gain more profit.
Sex trafficking impacts the future, because the entire business profits from stealing the next generation and robbing them of their own future which means what they were created to do may never come to be. Even though victims are still alive and breathing, they are not being given the opportunity to live. Through child sex trafficking there are so many dreams, goals, and passions being left untouched. A good future thrives off of people engaging and challenging their visions and once that is cut off, it then strengthens the source of that cruelty which is destroying and killing.
This leaves room for evil activity to continue, but gives the chance also for rescue and redemption in the future.
There have been a few people that I have gotten to talk with about sex trafficking who believe that the girl made the first step. It is the girl’s fault, because she ran away. It’s the girl’s fault, because she made the wrong decision. It’s the girl’s fault, because she believed him. It’s the girl’s fault, because she was naive. It’s the girl’s fault, because she’s a girl.
Well that’s not the healthiest way to look at sex trafficking, especially if you want to know the truth about it. First off, children, tweens, teens, young adults, adults, and senior citizens have experienced sexual exploitation. It’s not limited or bounded by any age or time of a person’s life. It knows no wrong. If someone finds themselves being sexually trafficked, their story of entrance can begin anywhere. Maybe they were a barista who came across a nice and well-meaning customer one morning who played nice, flattered them, asked for their number and name, and invited them to meet up outside of work. They could have been stopped at a gas station during their vacation, waited in line and not noticed the female behind was taking pictures of them and sending taken photos to her boss who was standing right outside. Or it’s a family member who takes advantage of their relationship with the victim and starts sexually violating them and sends a video out to his friends who have been bugging him for fresh material.
Although there isn’t much that we can do to control the way life works or occurs, we CAN greatly intervene when it comes to sex trafficking.
We can all be warriors, prayer warriors, messengers, supporters, and protectors. I believe warriors are the people who take action by physically visiting brothels while undercover to discover victims they can later on rescue. Prayer warriors are the warriors who fight for victims, supporters, warriors, pimps, activists, communities, countries, governments, families, and individuals. They ask for justice to enter in, for healing, restoration, protection, wisdom, direction, and so much more. They ask for more people to be informed and stirred to care about sex trafficking.
The messengers are those who share articles, webinars, podcast episodes, blogs, or events. They share what others are creating, because they believe in it and want others to experience the message and know it. Supporters are those who financially donate or fundraise money so girls can have a safe place to live and grow. They support every night when warriors go undercover by supplying money for the necessary gear. Protectors are those who join victims in the healing season of life where they are being asked to find a new identity. Protectors receive victims and surround them in truth, love, and grace so that what they previously endured doesn’t become their forever identity.
While sex trafficking may seem way too big an issue to overcome, I believe any effort given towards justice is greater than it feels. It can always grow, especially when shared. If you want to fight against sex trafficking a great place to begin is by discovering the organizations that fight against it. Each organization has their own ways of how you can become a supporter, warrior, messenger, protector, or prayer warrior. While they are all fighting together, they have found their own styles of fighting the industry. Maybe start with learning about the different organizations and their stories. Or have a cookies sale to bring in money for an organization who helps rescue, arrest, and restore. Start a blog or follow an organization’s page to stay informed so that sex trafficking doesn’t become a foreign or forgotten idea to you. Truly the best way to help is by caring. It will lead you to the best path of action as long as you nurture the care.