BY GUEST BLOGGER, DELFINA HOXHA (ALBANIA)
By definition, a sex trafficking victim is a person suffering extreme distress in a relationship that is exploitive. What happens when the victim is part of a vulnerable and susceptible group such as children? Crimes include trafficking for sexual purposes, prostitution, sex tourism, early marriage, pornography, stripping, and many others. (1)
We say children are the future, but they won't be able to create a better, safer future for everyone if their present isn't safe. Human trafficking is reported to be an issue and have victims in as many as 158 countries, (2) 28% of the victims being kids. (3)
These figures are truly heartbreaking, and trafficked youth needs us - to raise our voices, to speak up on their behalf, to educate ourselves and the people around us.
By doing so, we raise awareness on the matter and make it easier for victims to speak up and ask for help.
A lot of kids in the horrible world of sex trafficking don't even consider themselves victims, which means they don't seek for help immediately. One of the reasons is that they blame themselves for what has happened to them. Another one is not being able to fully trust the police or the people around them because of the way sex traffickers try to brainwash children, women, etc.
Here are four things you can do to help.
1. Be aware
Youth are prone to manipulation, seeing as their personalities are still forming and their experiences limited. Talking about abuse, be it with them or with your friends, family, and coworkers makes it easier for children and all of us to become aware of early signs of child sex trafficking. Similarly, we'll be more inclined to speak up when we notice them, and thus, do something about it. Prevention is the best cure.
2. Create safe spaces
By providing a non-judgmental safe space for children, encouraging them to talk about their issues and thoughts, you might be saving a life (or five). Try to get to know the kids in your area or school. Their trust may be broken by their exploiters, so having a group or even just a single person they know they can rely on makes a world of difference.
3. Recognize risk factors
Recognizing youth at risk is quite important, and some of the risk factors include: homelessness/runaway kids; prior history of abuse; having mental health issues; and being LGBTQIA. (4) Children in these high-risk groups are more prone to being abused, so being extra attentive to children in these situations and providing more guidance and help with what we can with them would prove to be a smart choice.
4. Support the cause
The more of us fight, the safer children everywhere in the world will be. You can join organizations, donate, or volunteer for a local center caring for sexually abused children. 100% of the funds we earn from affiliate programs goes directly to the rehabilitation of children rescued from sex trafficking. How can you help us with this? It's simple, by shopping through our link at Amazon, Goodshop or Groupon. Get your shopping fix on while supporting a cause you believe on, all with a click.
We at One Bread Foundation and the children thank you for everything you're doing.
1. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013. Pg. 2. Retrieved from https://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/243838.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016. Vienna, Austria: UNODC; 2016. Pg. 12. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2016_Global_Report_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016. Vienna, Austria: UNODC; 2016. Pg. 6. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/2016_Global_Report_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
4. Polaris Project. Sex Trafficking in the U.S.: A Closer Look at U.S. Citizen Victims. Pg. 4. Retrieved from https://polarisproject.org/sites/default/files/us-citizen-sex-trafficking.pdf. Accessed December 2017.
Delfina Hoxha is a psychology graduate writer speaking up about mental health, feminism, self-love, human rights, meditation, and body positivity, among other topics. She believes mental health is the new black and wants to live in a world where everyone is kind and true, to themselves and others.