Sex trafficking. A whole army rise up against this thing that is so terrible, we didn’t think it was actually happening right in front of us. To people we know; to people like us.
What is sex trafficking? Essentially, it is any form of sex that is exchanged for some form of payment, which may be money or something else, like survival, drugs, or even basic needs.
According to CMSAC, Sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere; regardless of age, ethnicity, economic status, lifestyle, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or gender. And, typically it is someone the victim knows.
Let’s humanize the victim. In the past, a sex worker was often glamourized, seen as a consenting participant, and criminalized as a prostitute. “Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law ensures young people who are sexually exploited are treated as victims and survivors, not criminals. Through the No Wrong Door model, these youth can receive trauma-informed support rather than being treated as juvenile delinquents. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Safe Harbor website provides detailed information and resources about Safe Harbor in Minnesota.” – find out more about Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door
What can we do? According to the makers of The Sound of Freedom, the first step is awareness. So, let’s talk about it; and find out from some of the experts who have been diligently fighting against human trafficking for years. (About The Sound of Freedom; maybe you loved it or hated it… I felt both, and definitely recommend. It was heart-wrenching and raw. A true story that turned into a happy ending for a few; not the typical story, and not representative of most trafficking stories. The best part is that it has gotten people talking, learning, and getting involved.)
I’m not an expert of any kind, just a concerned citizen who is asking, “What can I do? How do I recognize the signs? Who do I call?” Below I have listed some resources I have found useful as I ask those questions. In my business, I am thinking about how I can implement ways to help.
In the meantime, I have a list of people who are doing something right now. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and yet we need to keep adding names to it. Names like yours and mine, as sponsors and friends.
I live in Minnesota, so some of these resources are local to me. You can find resources for your area by reaching out to your county.
I love this organization, led by Annie Lobart. She has a beautiful message from the trenches, is a survivor of human trafficking, and not only helps other victims start a new life, but also hosts The Pink Chair Podcast, where you can tune in to learn more. Be warned, you won’t be the same after listening.
This was a serious topic to bring up on my typically light-hearted blog. It was on my heart to share.
Hope and Love,