The Affero Blog
Change is what happens when ordinary people do what they can to stop injustice. Last night I met some seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Daria Wilson is serving as a marketing intern with International Justice Mission. She served as point person for a 5 Weeks of Freedom event here in Nashville. A small army of volunteers showed up to help set up and work the event which was awesome to see. Musical guests Christa Wells and Derek Webb performed and freedom riders like Andrew Nelson shared why they are on the tour, cycling 1800 miles of historic underground railroad – from Mobile, Alabama to Buffalo, New York. To fight modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
The efforts of individuals like Daria, Christa, Derek and Andrew are heroic and significant. They bring awareness to a horrific reality. Did you know that more than two million children are currently exploited in the sex trade worldwide? Trafficking is a global sin against humanity fueled by coercion, deception and force. And you can help end it.
The sex traffickers prey on the vulnerable—victims of poverty, young women and children, and those searching for a better life. These innocents are often promised a job in another city by a trafficker who gains their trust only to sell them as sex slaves. Some are locked up in brothels and others do not have the resources or are too traumatized to find their way home.
The women and children who survive trafficking and commercial sex exploitation face many challenges. Psychological and emotional damage from years of cruelty and neglect can be paralyzing. Survivors also face health issues such as HIV/AIDS and damage to their bodies through abuse. Furthermore, in the developing countries, the social stigma attached to sex work means that many victims are not welcomed home. Thus, those who are trafficked at a young age find themselves without skills or education, are unable to re-integrate into society. Many victims of trafficking remain in the trade not because they are kept by force but because they have no other means of earning a living and imagine no other life. Lack of choice can enslave a child or woman as effectively as a locked door.
You can learn more about the scope of global trafficking by reading the U.S. State Department’s 2008 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report. This is arguably the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat trafficking.
There are organizations like International Justice Mission confronting the brutal reality of human trafficking. In the past 10 years, IJM has helped rescue thousands of victims of trafficking, slavery and violent oppression. You can make a difference by raising awareness of this important work. I recently heard IJM’s founder, Gary Haugen, say that where people of good will provide political will and capacity building, trafficking will end.
Trafficking is real. Solutions exist. Join the fight. And tell others to do the same.