“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures
is to be a fanatic,
I am one of the most incurable fanatics
ever permitted to be at large.”
I joined the abolitionist movement in October of 2012 after attending my first Human Trafficking Summit. A lot of people ask me why, why this? For me it’s simple. As a child I experienced things and assaults, that now as an abolitionist, I see I could have easily been coerced and taken into the life. It could have been me.
When I learned about human trafficking and discovered how prevalent it is, I knew it was my time to step out and fight.
Fight because I can.
Fight for them, because they cannot.
To be a voice for the voiceless.
Think about this--
We have more slaves in the world today than ever in history.
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime in the world.
Number one victim? Children.
Investigative journalist Amy Fine Collins notes, “It’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day.” Taken from The Free Thought Project (February 10, 2018)
It’s not just girls, there’s an increase in boys being trafficked for sex.
Though the dynamics are generally different for them.
Though every state, county and city is different you'll find trafficking hiding in plain sight everywhere. I live near San Luis Obispo and it's #4 in California under San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego for trafficking. Those three cities are in the top 10 for the United States.
There are a few factors that affect SLO County:
One is that we're a tourist destination so it’s easy for victims to go unnoticed.
Another is that we're a corridor. Children are moved to and from the big cities through ours.
San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles are not only a thoroughfare, we’re a "stopping along the way" place as well.
In a documentary on trafficking, one of the buyers said, that he could get a girl as fast as he could get a pizza. The Internet makes it very easy to quickly put pictures up of a girl wherever they are staying and wait for the call's to come in. This is a common practice.
In one sting operation, an undercover police officer pictures were put up, calls were received within a few minutes.
So far, I’ve mostly mentioned sex trafficking, however, San Luis Obispo County also has domestic and labor trafficking.
Agriculture (grapes for instance), massage parlors, nail salons, hotels, and restaurants use labor trafficked victims.
John F. Clark, the head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that, “if you don't think trafficking is happening in your neighborhood you just aren't looking.”
All of this is messy and sad and complicated. But. It is.
Yet, these Facts and Statistics can’t be changed unless we grow our collective awareness of human trafficking and change how we view "modern day slavery."
Uncle Ben in Spiderman said, "With great power comes great responsibility."
We have the power to be the change we want to see in the world and we can start with the person right in front of us.
How human trafficking has become so prevalent must be considered.
Who is buying and why also needs to be faced.
According to USA Today, adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year here in the United States.
How to end this demand should challenge us to find a way to change these statistics.
Ending the demand is one of the greatest thing we can do.
So...what can we do, right here, right now. Today. Here is a question for you to think about.
What’s stopping you?
Being too busy in your life.
Having no idea how you can really help.
Maybe this isn’t your “giving call.”
I want to go on record right here and now to let you know that you can do something to help end human trafficking. Everyone can. Everyday. Even in small ways. If you have questions email me or look for me on Facebook or go to my 21st Century Abolitionists page.
One way you can help is by learning to--
Know the Signs of Human Trafficking
Know what to do if you suspect human trafficking
& What you'll need to remember if you're giving information to authorities
Seeing the signs and not knowing enough can be heartbreaking.
I was at a gas station with my youngest daughter. At corner of 46-E and I-5. I knew the moment I saw this young girl that she was a victim. Since I was with my daughter late at night I didn't know what to do. I felt helpless. I took note of her clothes and so on, went to my car and made the call. (I keep the Human Trafficking Hotline in my phone.)
They told me to call the Sheriff's office and they asked the question I couldn’t answer.
The one that could save her life. I didn’t have the answer. I didn’t have it. She may still be out be out there. I still see her.
I know more now.
I’ll do better next time.
Here’s what I did wrong. She left out the door into a sea of 18-wheelers. Had I just watched which one she had gotten into.
I might have saved her life.
You can learn more at Shared Hope International (SHI). They have a list of the signs of trafficking for you. In fact, SHI's entire website is filled with invaluable information.
Put the Human Trafficking Hotline Number in your phone.
Human Trafficking 24/7 Hotline Number
Text: HELP to BeFree ( 233733)
Join or support organizations already in the fight.
--Shared Hope International has online training for becoming an Ambassadors of Hope
And they have Defenders which is specifically for men.
--Polaris Project created a typology report that breaks down the different categories of trafficking.
“Globally, there are two general categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Polaris’s groundbreaking typology report dug deeper to break those broad categories down into what they truly are - 25 distinct business models, each with their own very specific way of operating." (from Polaris Project website)
In closing use my coaching skills to help people one on one or in groups, not only with awareness, but also so they can decide how they best can be more involved. I have several options for groups, clubs and businesses. I tailor my presentations to your needs and your awareness level. Don't let distance get in your way. Out of my area? I'm willing to travel for expense only or we'll find someone who can help you or we can even do a conference call. Please reach out to me.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about human trafficking and how you can be part of the change we need to see in the world.
“You may choose to look the other way
but you can never say again that you did not know.”
Comments, shares, likes, and follows are a great way to get the word out and keep the conversation going.