Human trafficking is not a new subject. It is easy, however, to relegate it to India or Thailand. Anywhere but home.
Lisa Ling penetrated our bubble a couple of years ago with her segment on Our America. Soon after that my husband and I attended a fundraiser sponsored by Shine a Light,* that completely burst any film of protection from this global issue. It was a screening of Half the Sky along with a talk by Faith Morse, a spokesperson for OATH.*
“Everyone can do something,” was the refrain which continues to play in my mind.
It’s true. We can. In many cases it may only be a few dollars or a few hours that we throw at this gargantuan issue.
But I think we can do more.
We can think. We can comprehend that we are part of the problem. We can examine our own attitudes. We can be vocal. And we can educate.
Close to home.
This is more than a need for money to educate women; although that is more important than we can imagine.
This is more than building a safe house for rescued victims; although this need is crying to be filled. (One statistic says that there are less than 2200 beds nationwide in the U.S.)
This is more than warning our children not to tarry with strangers or to meet with “friends” from the internet.
It is even more than providing counseling for homeless teens who have left damaging family situations behind.
Because there would be no victims if there weren’t perpetrators.
I get that prostitution will not be eradicated. And I have little influence on the mores of countries like India with its high continuing demand for prostitution or on the men of my own country who travel abroad to fulfill their yen for sex with young children.
What I can do is talk to all of the young men and women in my family and friend circle. I can’t help to teach empathy and respect for others that supersedes personal desires. I can stand firm in my sure personal knowledge that nearly all (if not all) pornography is exploiting someone; if not those hired to perform in it, then certainly the young untrained viewers whose hormones thrive on salacious subjects.
I know where to begin.
We must train our children. Our young men. We must stand together on this. And, of course, we must continue to help the vulnerable population.
*Our daughter founded Shine a Light, a non-profit organization which has raised awareness and funds over the last three years. It does some wonderful work. If you want to participate this year, click here.