FACT: 2.5 MILLION people are victims of human trafficking each year. Yes, in the year 2010 slavery is still alive and thriving to the tune of $32 billion per year. These numbers may seem unbelievable to most but they are the unsettling truth. The targets of trafficking are most often girls and women but there are male victims who fall into the hands of these predators. Most victims come from poverty stricken areas and difficult backgrounds. The predators use this to their advantage in order to trick and threaten these people until they give themselves over, sometimes willingly. Of course, the dishonesty and strong arming do not really allow anyone to make a proper, educated decision, but it is enough to get these poor people right where they want them.
So, you are reading and thinking, “This must be happening in third world countries. What does it have to do with me?” This may shock you but Human Trafficking is also very much alive in the United States. Between 150,000 and 300,000 American children are enslaved and sold for sex each year.
The women, children, and even men that are part of these statics are left unprotected against disease, violence, and in some cases mutilation. They are subject to gang rapes, forced abortions, and many other horrors. For a recent example, and one from our own backyard, we can look at the Jaycee Dugard story. She was kidnapped from a bus stop and held hostage for 18 years during which time she gave birth to two girls, most likely the father is her captor. The man who kidnapped her is a known violent sex offender who made Jaycee live in a dirt floor tent in his backyard. Some might question why she never tried to escape but we don’t know if any attempts were made or if she just became so beaten down by this man and his wife that she just gave up. The psychological damage is so deep and these monsters will use any means necessary to keep their prisoners. He may have threatened to harm her family in the beginning and then over time Jaycee was no longer strong enough mentally to fight him.
What can we do about this crime? The first thing to do is to stay informed. The always forward thinking Demi Moore (@mrskutcher on twitter) and Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk on twitter) have formed a foundation, DNA Demi and Ashton Foundation (@dnafoundation on twitter) to help put an end to human trafficking. You can go to the foundation’s page http://demiandashton.org/ where you will find information on human trafficking along with information about, and links to, other organizations that are proactive in this fight.
Demi and Ashton have made ending human trafficking one of their missions. They stay up to date with what is being done, what needs to be done, who we need to contact, and how best to make a difference. By following @dnafoundation and visiting their site, you will get all the latest information and can join in the efforts to put an end to this crime. The only way to battle any threat to our society is as a collective. Once you educate yourself on the issue and what needs to be done, you will have the tools you need to begin spreading the word and helping to stop this horror.
There is a quote by Oprah Winfrey, “When you know better, you do better.” Demi and Ashton are doing a wonderful job in getting us to know better, the only thing left is to run with their example and do better.
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