Trafficking. One of those words that countless people instantly shy away from, because of its implications. Sure, everyone knows what the word means – the textbook definition. That’s really as far as it goes. Do you even know what it means? Do you know what actually happens, or how it affects the people and communities involved? And no, seeing the movie Taken does not count as knowing.
Chances are, you don’t know much. I’m not blaming you, though. No one wants to think that slavery and prostitution still go on, and that they may never end. We live in a society where the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” takes life in the world around us, without our even realizing it. Ignorance is bliss, as they always say. We each have our own little bubble containing everything we are completely sure of, and outside of those bubbles is the unknown. The knowledge that has the potential to blast a hole so large in our minds and beliefs that we do not know how to cope with it. However, this knowledge also has the potential to create such a burning passion and yearning to do something that it starts something phenomenal. No one but you has the power to say what will happen. So fasten your seatbelts, open your mind, and hold on for the ride.
On a basic level, trafficking is modern-day slavery. It is the capture and selling of human beings for various industries such as prostitution or forced labor in brothels. Yes, you read that correctly. People like you and me, and that annoying girl down the street, are caught and sold like animals. It is estimated that around 3 million girls and women are unwillingly enslaved in this sex trade right now. Statistics say that, today, the amount of people sold into sex slavery every year exceeds the amount of slaves sold annually in the 1900’s. Some may ask why these girls don’t just escape from these brothels. Why don’t they simply run away and never look back? If the slaves before them did it, why can’t they?
The answer is a bit complicated. Yes, they want to escape. More than anything in the world. Wouldn’t you? But, they don’t know how. Some are threatened so severely that they are too scared to even try. When your spirit has been beaten down so much that you’ve nothing left to give, what then? Others have children right at their brothel that they couldn’t even bear the thought of leaving. Some don’t even want to leave. Women and girls will stay because they have never known anything else, or because they have become addicted to drugs and cannot leave. Others are afraid to even go home, in fear of being rejected because of their involuntary impurity. The list can go on and on.
The real point I’m getting at is that this isn’t going to go away. When you close your laptop for the night, sex trafficking doesn’t just stop. It keeps going. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it’s growing, generating an upward of $27.8 billion a year, according to [halftheskymovement.org]. That’s a lot of dough. However, the question isn’t how we are going to put an end to sex trafficking forever. Not yet, anyways. The real question is: what are you going to do about it? And, no, that isn’t rhetorical.
by Elisabeth Brown