Sex Trafficking is considered a modern-day form of forced labor or slavery. Slavery is a travesty no matter the age, but even more devastating for young children. Statistics state that a child is trafficked every 26 seconds. The average age a child is trafficked in the United States is between 12-14. This is the very age of the girls we serve in our Forgiving For Living, Inc., Ambassador Program. During the month of January, a spotlight is being pointed on the epidemic of Sex Trafficking in America. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have been claimed by the FBI as cities that have a high rate of trafficking in California. We must ask ourselves: are we willing to do something… anything to help change this situation?
The nonprofit organization Forgotten Children, Inc., under the leadership of Tera Hilliard, President and CEO, is committed to making a difference. Forgotten Children, Inc. (FCI) is a 501c (3) organization that fights the victimization of women and girls through an anti-human trafficking campaign. They provide outreach, education, and housing for victims of human trafficking. They also provide intervention classes and resources to women who have been arrested or sexually exploited. They believe the greatest weapon to fight against human trafficking is education and awareness. To educate the public and increase awareness, they provide prevention education to schools, churches and the community as well as resources/support for law enforcement.
FCI’s mission is to rescue, restore, educate and bring hope to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Their vision is to empower and equip individuals, families and communities by breaking the cycle of sexual exploitation through partnerships and community awareness. All of us have a role in making sure this atrocity of putting our children into sex slavery comes to an end. When we look at the average age of these children being pulled in, we need to ask ourselves what can we do? First, we need to be accountable and know where our children are at that age. Be present. Second, if we see something that doesn’t look right, say something. We can’t stay silent if we see any suspicious activity. Third, if a young person or anyone says they are hurting or need help, be willing to do whatever we can.
As we venture into a new year and a new decade, who would have ever thought we would still be fighting a problem as basic as ending slavery? Any form of slavery. Sex trafficking is a violation to everyone’s basic human rights. We must care about others. Helen Keller said, “I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” We must be willing to be a party of one and make a difference where we live, where we work and wherever we go.
People that are caught up in any form of sex trafficking or slave labor are victims against their own will. They are either forced into it against their will or they get caught up in something that they had no idea would lead them down a road to that destination. One of the greatest gifts we could share with someone who may be hurting is to show compassion and kindness and not judgment. If you think someone might be in trouble and you don’t know what to do, then reach out to someone or an organization that would know what to do. If you don’t know where to begin, try contacting www.forgottenchildreninc.org.
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