Chapter 7: Not in My Backyard
Sex is easy to find. It is generally understood among those working to fight sex trafficking that the average age of entry for commercial sex workers—this includes prostitution, pornography, stripping, massage parlors or any other business being use as a disguise for selling sex—is between eleven and thirteen years. According to one of the San Clemente abolitionists, this means that “most sex workers are victims. Maybe not all, but most.” These victims are being brought into the industry because they are vulnerable children!
She’s Somebody’s Daughter. Their goal is to create a culture that honors women and expose the truth about sexual exploitation.
GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Service. Their goals is to empower girls and young women, ages 12-24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop their full potential.
“Discovering the truth about whether or not someone is enslaved often begins with asking questions (76).” For those of you following along in the book, you might remember the forward written by Elisa Morgan where she recalled the human trafficking training received which prompted her to ask pertinent questions of the young man offering to sell her a magazine on her front porch. Similarly, I was driving down Main Street this weekend only to find a young boy selling Valentine’s gift bags on the side of the street. It was pretty cold, only a couple days after the worst snow storm we have had this winter, and he was not wearing a coat. With my daughter in the backseat of the car, I pulled into the parking lot next to the young man to ask, “Where is your coat? Where are your parents? Are you okay?” He assured me that he layered his clothes before coming outside and that his parents were on the other side of the street selling gifts as well and this was part of their family’s business. It was dark and the traffic did not allow me to see across the street but it appeared as if he was okay.
I don’t know if I would have made that stop a few months ago. Back then, I would have assumed that he wanted to stand in the cold to sell gifts in the dark because he needed the money. Today, I know better and I am therefore called to respond with intentional action based on what I now know. Loving my neighbor means that I must be willing to look around and ask the hard questions.
So what do you do when faced with an uncertain situation that may possibly involve human trafficking?
1. Look for a police or dial 911. It may be appropriate for you to sit with the victim or reach out to a local advocate to sit with the victim through this process. Unfortunately, sometimes victims enter into police stations where they are then treated like the criminals who have victimized them. It is important that someone in the room has proper training in dealing with human trafficking cases. Ask for that person.
2. Call the National Human Trafficking Number 888-373-7888. This number can connect you will experts, advocates, and servants in your local area.
Polaris Project: For a World Without Slavery www.polarisproject.org
3. Call the 1-800-834-5678, if you think you have seen a missing child, to report crimes against children or the sexual exploitation of children.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children www.missingkids.com
SAVE BOTH OF THESE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE CONTACTS.
“How can you discover, fight and inform your community about slavery in your city or community (80)?”
NC Folks, due to inclement weather, we have rescheduled Saturday’s human trafficking event for March 8. Please RSVP online and I look forward to seeing you then!
Blessings, © Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014
Refuse to Do Nothing Book Discussion
Chapter 1: The issue of Human Trafficking
Chapter 2: We’ve Done This Before
Chapter 3: So you want to be an activist?
Chapter 4: Take Action #HumanTrafficking
Chapter 5: Be Brave, No Excuses
Chapter 6: Stop the Violence