CHILD – SEX – TRAFFICKING.
These three words should never be used in the same sentence, let alone be a reality. But for millions of the world's most vulnerable citizens these words define their childhood descent into sexual slavery.
Love146 is a non-profit international human rights organization that is dedicated to the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through prevention and aftercare. The industry of human trafficking, and specifically child sex trafficking, is the second largest illegal money-making industry in the world, second only to drug trafficking. Human trafficking will soon surpass drug trafficking, as drugs can be used only once; but children in sexual slavery and exploitation perhaps 15 times a day. Every day. For years. But there is hope. My hope for you is to be as inspired by these children as I have been.
There are currently around 14 million trafficked worldwide, some as young as three years old, many forced into sexual slavery. Unicef estimates 1.2 million additional children are trafficked every year. That is 2 every minute. They must endure an unimaginable fate. They are the currency in a brutal trade, sex trafficking.
Intervention is imperative. We must achieve no less than the ABOLITION of child sex trafficking. This is modern-day slavery on a scale never before seen in human history. You may wonder how so many children are trafficked. The tactics of traffickers are varied and creative. Some children are kidnapped, others are promised good jobs in far away cities, and others are knowingly sold to these traffickers due to extreme poverty. Where there is poverty, there is opportunity for trafficking. And where there is a demand for the exploitation of these children by predators, there is a market to traffickers. These children become mere commodities.
But this is not just a problem for others, far removed from our borders. Child sex trafficking is not just taking place in Russia, India, Latin America and South East Asia, it is happening worldwide on an epidemic scale, including here in the United States. Martin Luther King once wrote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". This is happening in our own back yard, down the street from our houses, within our communities. These slaves are trafficked into our country for exploitation here. They are sold through our classified ads in local papers, on websites and online communities right under our very noses. This is not just "someone else's problem". We are compelled as human beings to take responsibility for these children and to fight with all our power to restore their childhoods, their lives and their potential.
What do we do about the issue? LOVE146 works alongside organizations who physically rescue these children. But these organizations have a huge problem – they could rescue literally thousands more children from brothels right now, today, but there are virtually no safe aftercare facilities in which to place them nor trained caregivers to restore them. These children cannot be liberated from bondage only to end up at risk of starvation, homelessness, or being re-trafficked and re-exploited. So - at this very moment, children in brothels around the world could be set free if additional safehomes and trained caregivers existed.
This is Love146's mission - To work toward the abolition of child sex trafficking and exploitation through prevention and aftercare. LOVE146 trains aftercare workers, multiplies safehomes, aids socioeconomic development programs in high-risk communities and provides a voice for these survivors of modern-day slavery. The trafficking and rape of children for profit is one of the darkest stories on the planet. This physical, mental and emotional trauma leaves children broken and scarred for life. Intervention for these children are critical to their survival. Without safehomes and trained care-givers this cannot happen. This is why Love146 exists.
Try to convey the sensitivity of the issue while explaining that this situation needs urgent attention. Love146 understands how vast this issue is, but we also believe there is real hope. Child sex slavery can and must be abolished, not just diminished. Tell the story of a child who has been rescued out of sex slavery and is now healthy (you can visit our website for stories). Connecting to statistics is difficult, but people can connect with an individual's story. Inspiration and awareness will lead to action; action will lead to abolition and restoration.