While January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month this is an issue that needs attention twelve months out of the year, especially for Christians in light of Jesus' call to be lights to the world. Few Americans realize that human trafficking happens right here in our country. The average age young girls become victims are between 12 to 14 years. While sex trafficking often grabs the headlines and attention, there are many other ways in which women and girls are forced into lives of prostitution. Economic necessity, a lack of employment options, drug addiction, pimps or traffickers are all factors that can force women into sexual slavery.
In other countries with the most sexually conservative societies, such as India, Pakistan and Iran, there are large numbers of forced prostitutes. Since having sex with girlfriends is frowned upon for most men in these cultures, prostitutes have become an acceptable solution. But here in America young woman are also being kidnapped and coerced into this evil. However, this has now become a growing concern and many grassroots activist groups have brought this issue into the public eye. Here is a list of web-sites, face book pages, movies, and events to help increase your awareness and offer ways to help:
• USA today has an informative article on-line about the growing concern and outcry of Americans.
• Half the sky movement: is a very good organization that does a lot to raise awareness.
SoulCry!, hosted by the Arts Movement Student Company and the Assisi Foundation, tells a heartbreaking story of a young girl whose childhood is traded for a life of sex slavery. Based on a true story by Nicholaas Kristoff, Eli is taken from her family and forced to work in a brothel. Although filled with pain and sorrow, Eli’s life is transformed by the love that is created by the child she gives birth to while in the brothel. Through song and movement SoulCry ! displays this story in a way that moves the audience to tears. Loralee Scott not only does an amazing job of portraying the reality of so many young girls around the world, but captivates the audience by allowing the young dancers to share their feelings and thoughts about sex slavery at the end of the performance. Scott specifically chose girls to dance that are around the same age at which young women are first targeted to be sold into sex slavery. The show was taken beyond just a performance when Scott conducted a panel discussion to address questions and offer advice on what everyday people can do to help put an end to this ongoing tragedy. Although the media bombards us with information about injustices around the world, SoulCry is able to capture your heart about this specific issue by using an art form that truly portrays the message in a way that speaks to the audience’s heart. Soul Cry is a powerful experience that, as one audience member remarked, makes the soul cry. For more information about the performance and the arts movement, visit the website above or the Assisi Foundation.
• The book and movie, “Trade of Innocents” by Dudley brings further awareness of the travesty of human trafficking. This is a growing problem not only in other countries, but in the area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Proceeds from the movie will go to The Manasseh Project to help fund their new safe house in Grand Rapids.
• Megan Griffiths’ film Eden. The SXSW Review states that the film “takes a non-exploitative approach to lurid material.” Jamie Chung’s performance conveys a raw, emotional journey. Here’s the link to the trailer:
• For statistics, pictures, general information, facts, videos, and documentaries visit the highlighted link.
• Here is another good source of information for Awareness Month on facebook.
• Human Trafficking was a television miniseries about an American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent going undercover to stop an organization from trafficking people, and shows the struggles of three trafficked women. It premiered in the United States on Lifetime Television on October 24 and 25, 2005. This helped to raise awareness of the growing problem in the United States, but more needs to be done as it is on the rise.
Most of these sites have links to non-profits that you can donate to and make a difference! Also helping to educate woman and girls is another viable way to prevent prostitution by giving these girls skills to earn money, such as the one girl organization. The magazine ,Redbook also has covered this horrifying issue and has links to donation sites.
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