By Kristen Johnson
There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 1 in 5 runaway children were likely victims of sex trafficking. The U.S. has identified 136 goods in 74 countries that are made by forced and child labor. (Polaris Project).
These statistics are shocking, so it’s worth mentioning that we should “vote” with our pocketbooks. If we purchase “cheap” goods made in places like China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, etc., we face a high likelihood that we are supporting slavery. Choosing to ignore girls who are selling themselves online or in the streets is choosing to ignore sex trafficking.
So, what can we do about the problem? We can raise awareness, we can choose to purchase items that are made in the U.S. instead of overseas, we can purchase overseas items that are certified “fair trade”, we can support victims financially locally and internationally, and we can refuse to ignore the problem. Following are some organizations that I support for their wonderful work with victims:
- 3Strands Global: They create job opportunities for survivors, raise awareness, and sponsor fundraising events for survivors. If you live in San Diego, Oakland, or Folsom, there are upcoming races available that you can participate in to raise funds for victims. I will be joining the local 3Strands Global fundraising race next weekend in San Diego. You can sign up to participate or to donate to the cause here: https://3strandsglobal.redpodium.com/break-free-run-san-diego-2016.
- Thistle Farms: A truly amazing organization located in Nashville, TN that provides love, support, job training, and counseling for local victims of trafficking and prostitution, abuse, and addiction. They offer medical care, job training, therapy and education for survivors. The organization sells handmade products, runs a cafe, and participates in a shared trade marketplace. (thistlefarms.org).
- Generate Hope is one of a few organizations available to survivors in my hometown, San Diego. Sadly, there are only 31 beds available for an estimated 8,000-12,000 victims a year. (I learned these statistics and more after participating for several months in our local human trafficking community committee.) This organization works to provide a safe place for victims to heal, get job training, and escape their abusers. (generatehope.org).
God hears the cries of the abused and enslaved, but it is our responsibility to listen to their cries.
Raise funds and awareness. Refuse to ignore the problem. Be a part of the solution.
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of: Stocksnap.io