Friday, April 29, 2011

I am outraged!!

There are a lot of problems in this world.  We’ve got HIV, malaria, cancer.  We’ve got poverty, natural disasters and the destruction of our natural resources.  We hear about major charities doing great work in all of these areas.  And that is wonderful.  I myself am walking this weekend in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  It’s going to be a huge event.  We’re going to raise a lot of money.  And I’m happy to be involved.  Then why am I outraged?

Because there is an issue that I believe does not get the attention it deserves:

Child Sex Slavery and Human Trafficking

You would think that a cause as horrific as the trafficking and slavery of children would be one people really, really want to stop.  So, why aren’t we marching in the streets?  Why aren’t we talking about it in our church groups and book clubs?  Why don’t you see celebrities doing telethons to raise money to stop it?  Why aren’t there gigantic national walks to raise money for this cause?

I’ve started looking into it.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two reasons we don’t hear that much about this issue.  First, I think people don’t realize how bad the problem is.  Well, I can tell you, briefly.  Click on the links to read more research and statistics.

So, that means there is a chance that you know or have contact someone who has paid for sex with a child.  And, chances are, you’ve purchased something that was made by slaves.

The second problem is that I don’t think people feel like there is anything they can do.  We feel helpless.  But we can.  Here are just a few ways you can get involved.

1.      Shop like you mean it.  Don’t buy slave-made goods.  That cheap sweater you got on sale?  It might be made of slave-harvested cotton.  Ask.  That delicious coffee – unless it’s labeled as Fair Trade, it may have been made by slaves.  Not so delicious.
2.       Make noise!  Since 76% of the transactions to buy and sell children for sex happen on the internet – you can report any suspicious activity on Craigslist or Backpage.  You can also report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children through their Cyber Tipline.  Then tell everyone you know about the issue and start making a stink about it.  We’re marching ONLINE!!
3.       Volunteer.  Find an organization in your area and see what you can do to help.  The Demi & Ashton Foundation has a great list of Important Organizations.  You can also take their pledge and donate directly to them.  They fund some amazing programs. 
4.       Donate.  These organizations are not getting the kind of publicity that many large charities do.  Give.  Give some more.

There are many other ways you can help.  Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves has a wealth of information and practical resources for how you can get involved.  And they have their financial statements right there on the site.  You know the money is going directly to great programs. 

Shared Hope International is another amazing organization with great research and progressive programs that deal with prevention, rescue and justice. 

If you really want a wake-up call, watch Very Young Girls.  This problem is not going to go away unless we do something about it.  Let’s take to the streets.  Let’s get involved.  Are you with me?

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