Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. If you don’t know what it is, human trafficking is the act of controlling a person through force, fraud or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation or both. They look for people who may have emotional or psychological vulnerability, social or economic instability. They target all backgrounds and it’s happening all around the world. It happens nationally and across international borders for commercial use of porn, sex and prostitution in exchange for goods or money.
Right now, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world.
Even though the majority is women and girls, men are often trafficked into labor jobs. It is estimated that 55 percent of all trafficking victims and 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are women and girls. That is why sex trafficking is often considered a “gender” crime.
And it’s closer to home than you think. Of the five worst cities for sex trafficking in the United States, Kansas has two of them. Wichita is the fifth and Kansas City the fourth. The many truck stops throughout Kansas and interstate passes have become the prime outlet.
This is a distressing reality. My heart aches for something I don’t necessarily have contact with. And we can help! This issue isn’t beyond us.
Awareness is the first step to prevention.
Many organizations have provided resources so that the community can be aware of these dangers. The Red Cross has a link that visually explains what it is: http://webapps.redcross.org.uk/modern-day-slavery/
A21 is a great organization that supports those affected by trafficking, persecutes the traffickers and works to prevent it form happening. Survivors need our help with medical care, sexual health treatment and counseling for them to recover. We have these charities that are dedicated to providing this kind of care. It is important to create awareness of this disturbing reality and help support charities that fight for human trafficking.
Exodus Cry is a a Christian organization based out of Kansas City that creates prevention, intervention and holistic restoration of trafficking victims. Their website allows you to partner with them directly.
The government is also taking action. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime promotes policies that incriminate traffickers and protects victims. The UN agency also provides tools to train law enforcers and raise injustice awareness. The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act was established by the State and has been highly influential. The Polaris Project is a national anti-trafficking organization that also serves victims.
Even in Manhattan, Kansas, there are opportunities to get involved. KSU Freedom Alliance is a group at K-State is a club that meets on a regular basis and takes action to raise awareness in the community. They put on an awareness walk/run, empathy week, supply drive and other events in which you can participate. There is also a Manhattan-based organization called The Homestead that houses and restores women exiting the sex trade industry. I would encourage you to research abolitionists in your area that help support the fight against slavery.
You can do something. Spread the word. There is injustice happening and you can make a difference.
Use your voice for those who can’t speak.