Danielle's Passion Post: The Reality of Sex Trafficking
Today, Danielle is writing a very powerful and important post. I met Danielle through the blogosphere and admire her heart and passion to help people who have been affected by sexual abuse. I know that this is a tough blog to read, but I encourage you to read it regardless.
Sexual abuse is way too common in our broken world. I am heartbroken to report that I know more individuals, men and women alike, who have been sexually abused at least once than I can count on one hand. More needs to be done to address this growing problem to both prosecute the perpetrators and support the victims. I believe a huge part of doing so is raising awareness, changing laws, and rallying together, especially as a Christian community, to protect and prevent as many vulnerable individuals as humanly possible from being abused.
While sexual abuse often occurs at the personal level, there is also widespread sexual abuse in the human trafficking industry. I'd like to focus on that for a few minutes. Here are some statistics for you: an estimated 2.5 million people are currently in forced labor, including sexual trafficking, at any given time with an estimated 1.2 million children trafficked every year and $31.6 billion US dollars generated as a result per annum. 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, of whom 98% are women and girls. 293,000 American children are at risk of becoming domestic sex trafficking victims. One of the worst parts? For every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted in 2006. The reality is this: this problem is not one seen only by third world countries, it's one that is prevalent regardless of domestic wealth internationally.
So what can you do? I believe one of the biggest ways we can support victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking is by educating ourselves so we can support and encourage them. I've heard pastors preach about huge issues such as physical abuse, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, and other "hot topics" but not once have I heard a sermon that discusses sexual abuse. In fact, there was one sermon I heard at a church that broke my heart in which the pastor briefly referenced how sexual abuse victims need to ask God's forgiveness because even though they were a victim their 'temple had still been desecrated.' This couldn't be further from the truth and I believe this issue is often not discussed because it is an uncomfortable one to address. As a result, victims feel like they should be ashamed of what happened to them and those of us who should be loving them are afraid to acknowledge the pain they suffered. If we can start openly talking about sexual abuse we can best be there for those who may want help recovering. If you are interested in getting more involved in stopping the sex trade, some great resources include:
20 Ways to Fight Human Trafficking
It's my hope that you'll stand up with me and provide the love, support, and resources survivors of any type of sexual abuse may desire or require, as well as to speak out on the issue, raising awareness to help put an end to these abuses.
Find Danielle's blog at Young, Not Powerless