Wednesday, 22 April 2009
No civilized sane human would support slavery so how does trafficking in humans for sex continue worldwide? The practice is growing, but hundreds declared in Tulsa Friday that they will stand in opposition. They will contribute time and money to raise awareness and save victims. They will engage to stop this hidden smuggling that goes on in every one of the 50 states in America.
At an event held at Victory Christian Center (VCC) sponsored by Stop Child Trafficking Now hundreds of Tulsans learned about how they can act to end the forced capture and imprisonment of people. They learned how women and children are physically and emotionally broken until their bodies are riddled with disease then often murdered unless they are saved by outside direct action.
While some movies such as Taken and have revealed some of the actual monstrosity of the practice, most Americans do not know sex slavery has become the fastest growing criminal industry. In volume of cash involved, it is now only matched by the illegal arms industry (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services).
Dr. Laura Lederer, Vice President at Global Centurion and guest speaker, shared the story of Rosa, a young girl from Mexico. Rosa was brought across the border in order to work in what she thought would be a restaurant. Instead of waiting tables, Rosa was raped, beaten, drugged, and used for sex. When found, Rosa had already twice been impregnated and twice forced to have an abortion. She was also forced to take drugs and alcohol in order to keep her body going for the next “customer”, leaving her addicted. Once rescued, Rosa was jailed as a criminal rather than receive immediate care for rehabilitation and reintegration into society – the law only saw her as a prostitute.
There are thousands more stories of young children, primarily girls, which come from poverty and are left vulnerable. “Six hundred to eight hundred thousand people are trafficked per year.” Dr. Lederer offered this statistic to the Victory crowd. This number is given, however, as an underestimate because it is mostly underground. In addition, many people do not recognize a situation of a person being bought and sold when faced with it. “Seventeen to twenty thousand are trafficked into the United States, every single state included,” Dr. Lederer said. New York has one of the highest trafficking rates of the fifty states. The number of children being trafficked within the United States, many of whom are born as U.S. citizens, ranges within the hundreds of thousands.
The VCC meeting on Friday did not end hopelessly. Along with the education and somber facts came the good news. “In 2000, a bi-partisan coalition passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” said Dr. Lederer. New laws under this act are being made which allow the law system to target masses of predators- those involved in any part of the process of trafficking. Anyone ranging from the buyer, the seller, the harborer, and the transporter are part of the predatory process that enslaves these victims. Now, they can be targeted by the masses, and prosecution for trafficking can take place because every step of the trafficking process has been made illegal.
Dr. Lederer also mentioned another new law that can sentence everyone involved anywhere from twenty years to life in prison. For enslaved children such as Rosa, this means recognition for being forced into prostitution, drugs, stripping, etc., and allows them to be sent to special centers that will provide help for every step of the healing process.
The money collected by Stop Child Trafficking Now is being sent to fund the intervention of sex trafficking at its very root. These funds will pay for teams of ex-military professionals to enter the trafficking arena as closely as possible, disguised as private citizens. These professionals are currently being trained to identify each and every predator within this process and stop him or her at ground zero. Then, with the new laws, they can then be prosecuted and jailed.
“When you go after one, you find dozens more,” Ms. Lewis concluded the meeting with some impactful facts. A gripping detail she left with Victory was that a “customer”, on average, would pay $30 for fifteen minutes of sexual relations with a young girl. Interestingly, it will cost $27 per fifteen minutes to put a four-man team on the ground full time and stop trafficking at its roots. By killing the demand, the market will end. This is the ultimate vision of the campaign- the goal is to set fear into the hearts of predators and free the victims by doing so.
Stop Child Trafficking Now solicits corporate and organizational support to educate and raise awareness. In addition to public forums, they help sponsor walks, such as the Stiletto Run in New York City to be held September 26-27, 2009. Business consultant Lynette Lewis, author of “Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos”, organized the run. The book was written for women in the working world and draws from personal stories in order to encourage businesswomen to live fulfilled, successful lives.
“I feel like all of us, in our dreams, start out not knowing how [to go about fulfilling them]. Frankly, that’s where most of us stop,” Lynette said at the conference at Victory Christian Center. As the visionary author of the book with a title about climbing a ladder in impossible shoes, she has also taken the position of motivating people to look outside their own windows and not be afraid of what seems the impossible. Lynette has taken a stand against human trafficking by partnering with Dr. Laura Lederer. Ms. Lederer has received her doctorate from the San Francisco Law School and the DePaul College of Law, has received an award for her work on human rights, and has worked closely with the Bush Administration to combat and monitor trafficking. Together, both are spreading the vision of what one individual can do.
So what is it we can do? We can continue to be educated and not pass the issue off as impossible, because it is not. Americans everywhere are proving that they are ready to collectively create a power of the masses. Awareness and concern is an open door to great change. Our current conditions are allowing us to position ourselves as partners, no matter what political background we come from, and then change can be made.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 April 2009 )