Although horrific, human trafficking is often thought as an issue that happens primarily overseas and not something that commonly occurs here in the United States. But did you know that the US is actually the #1 destination for child sex trafficking in the entire world? Facts like, “300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation,” (U.S. Department of Justice) and “Human trafficking grosses an estimated $32 billion per year–that is more than Nike, Google and Starbucks… combined.” (Child Rescue) are alarming to learn, almost as alarming as hearing the average age of a trafficked child is 12 years old and that 50% of the victims of human trafficking are minors.
Many people think that this can’t happen to them or that they aren’t at risk, but in reality this is a problem that does not discriminate against someone’s background, upbringing, race, or class. Some of the most common ways for traffickers to lure in their victims are through the internet, at malls, and at movie theaters. Oftentimes they pose themselves as “talent agents” giving false hope that the victim will be the “next big thing” earning thousands of dollars.
Knowing now that the US is the #1 Destination for Child Sex Trafficking in the World, one must think how can we stop this problem? With organizations, such as Child Rescue and Arizona-based Lost Angels Foundation of Hope, everyone can help spread the word and help inform others that this problem exists. The first step is to talk about it and share this information and facts with everyone you know! Volunteering through human trafficking organizations or at least knowing about them can impact the victims and the issue of human trafficking as well.
All over the world people are doing their part to try to put an end to this horrible issue. For example, Stella Rotaru is fighting along with her fellow workers at International Organization for Migration in Moldova. Check out her mission, featured on LinkTV.
A quote from Christine Caine, a prominent leader in abolishing human trafficking inspired many when she said, “as long as there is one victim of human trafficking, that’s all the motivation we need.” Human trafficking is a global issue and effects countries all over the world (click here for the 2011 Human Trafficking Map).
More information about Child Rescue can be found on their website. And information about Lost Angels Foundation of Hope can be found by visiting their website or Facebook page. If you’re suspicious of someone you know being trafficked, aside from calling 911, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Human Trafficking Resource Center has a toll-free number to report such instances at 1-888-3737-888.
Alexis Myers is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. Myers is a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. and is originally from Phoenix Ariz. She is an advocate against violence towards women and loves to do community service and feels that it should be a part of everyone’s life. Megan Emme is the New Media Coordinator at Mobilize.org and runs their blogging program, The Millennial Report. Megan is a Junior at San Francisco State University and also works as the SF Regional Coordinator for the Revolution Hunger Campaign. She hopes to pursue a career empowering young people to advocate for themselves as well as make a difference in their communities.
Megan Emme is the New Media Coordinator at Mobilize.org and runs their blogging program, The Millennial Report. Megan is a Junior at San Francisco State University and also works as the SF Regional Coordinator for the Revolution Hunger Campaign. She hopes to pursue a career empowering young people to advocate for themselves as well as make a difference in their communities.