I recently spent three months in Cambodia and Thailand involved with safe homes and the red light district. I became aware of the prevalence and growing stamina within the sex trade industry all over the world. In Southeast Asia, I observed girls trapped in vulnerable economic situations where their families either sold them for money or girls lacked employment opportunities, so they prostituted themselves in order to make an income. I learned very quickly that most trafficking victims are not bound by chains, but by pimps who use psychological coercion and manipulation through the use of drugs, financial methods, or emotional strategies. Most girls become addicted to drugs, therefore in debt to their pimp or owner. Thus, they are usually put into a brothel where they essentially never come out of debt and are forced to prostitute themselves until they die. Upon returning home, I felt the conviction and responsibility to become an active advocate for the prevention,
Through my volunteer experience in safe homes in Philadelphia and Lancaster, I have become aware of those at risk for being targeted by traffickers. Despite the stereotype that only women and children are trafficked, I learned that men are also trafficked. I have learned and seen that the most common age to be trafficked within the U.S. is 12-14 years of age due to the vulnerable stage in life. Individuals who lack the skills and basic necessities to live on their own are all at risk. Those most at risk are runaways, the homeless, those with language barriers, victims of parental abuse, those in foster care, those who lack employment, those exposed to domestic violence, and those who lack supervision. As I have been back in the United States, God has given me a vision and passion to eventually start my own safe home. In learning that 300,000 U.S. teens were trafficked this past year from every state and understanding that there are only enough safe homes for approximately one percent of victims, I see safe homes as a vital need. Without intervention, most victims are likely to die within seven years.
Today, sex trafficking is the largest growing criminal industry in the world. The latest global assessment according to the International Labor Organization calculates that nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. About 4.5 million of those victims are trafficked for the drive of sexual exploitation.
Ending human trafficking begins with each of us. Every person can play a role in ending and preventing this horrific industry through prayer, awareness, education, and action. God is bigger than human trafficking and I have seen Him more present than ever in the darkest places. True restoration and healing
Online recruitment has become the most common approach used by pimps and traffickers. The internet and social media greatly contribute to the exploitation of victims. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, dating apps, and pornographic sites are all sources and avenues for traffickers to lure in and use individuals for exploitation. In addition, each of us can make choices every day about the products we purchase and the health of those working in manufacturing. These sites https://projectjust.com/ and https://madeinafreeworld.com/ have become two great sources in finding products that are ethically manufactured.
Exodus Cry is a Christian organization actively involved in the prevention,
Exodus Cry has a podcast for anyone who wants to learn more about sex trafficking and how they can fight it.
The documentary “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” is another excellent resource
A God of Justice study will begin on September 21st (every other Thursday night) and I encourage anyone who is interested in gaining insight to attend. If you are interested, you may email me at or Sarah Racine at .
Getting educated about trafficking is one thing that ALL OF US can do to help bring a stop to this horrific injustice.