Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learn More - Do More

After we left Casa De Luz we drove over to the FREE International offices. 
They are located in a Christian school.  
It was time to begin our education on human trafficking. 
We all had some previous knowledge of trafficking before we came, but we were about to learn a lot more.


We made ourselves at home in the FREE conference room.  It had been recently remodeled by the FREE interns.  It has a cool, urban vibe.  It's also been outfitted with an awesome white board wall calendar and memo boards, using white board paint. Pretty cool!


For the next three days we learned just about everything there is to know in the realm of human trafficking. Not really, but I think we spent so much time in that conference room, that I our butt prints are permanently impressed on those chairs. 
We were trained on signs to look for to identify someone who may be being trafficked.  We met a mom whose daughter was trafficked and learned about how that happened and what it has done to their family.  We met a door man at one of the big casino's on the strip. He shared his testimony with us and let us know what to look for when you are in the casino if you to identify any girls who may be on the floor 'working'.  We met one of the men who work in the juvenile justice center in the city and heard his passion and vision for rehabilitating the young women who are incarcerated in the Juvenile centers for prostitution.


We learned how to track down women who are being sold on Internet websites and look for identifiers that may indicate that they may be underage.
FREE International has worked with Brad from Klaas Kids on this issue, especially during their Superbowl outreach.  Brad recorded a training that we utilized while we where there.
We also recieved training from the founder of Pure Hope via an audio clip.
That isn't everything we were trained on, but it's all I can think of right now. I really appreciated the personal testimonies.  The people we talked to were so transparent, so kind, and so passionate about putting an end to the prostitution of our daughters.  They gave so generously to us of their time and answered so many of our questions.  Each person we met was so completely honest and open with us about their personal story.


Mike, the FREE International head honcho.
So, it is only fair for me to share some of my new found knowledge with you.
First of all, let me give you a definition.
*Human trafficking is defined as; "the recruitment, harboring, transporting, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or service, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection of involuntary servitude , peonage, debt bondage, slavery, or forced sex act."
(No I didn't memorize that. That's what notes are for.)

*Some of the forms of sex trafficking are: prostitution, massage parlors, pornography, exotic dancing/stripping, escort services, modeling studios, and gangs. 
*The united states estimates that 12 million people are living as victims of human trafficking globally, accumulating approximately 30 billion dollars in revenue yearly.  
*There are approximately 1.5 million runaways each year.  Within 48 hours, 2/3 of them are recruited into the sex trade. 
*Average age of entry is 12 years old.
* A popular recruiting location for a pimp is the mall food court. 
*Young girls who are vulnerable, have low self esteem, and/or have already been subject to sexual abuse, are prime targets.


There is so much more that I could tell you.  There is so much more that you should know.  But I don't want to overwhelm anyone right now, and I don't want to share too much here on the blog.  Besides, I have some more things to blog about and I'm sure some more info will be leak onto those posts.
I want to encourage you all in one thing.  Something I have been guilty of myself. That is;
Don't be ignorant.

Sex trafficking is happening everywhere. While we were doing our Internet training, we saw a girl being advertised for sale in Wausau, WI.  It's happening in Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, and everywhere else.  The United States is one of the top 10 countries in human trafficking.
So educate yourself, educate others, and do what you can to help. 
If you do suspect that someone is being trafficked, call your local police department and also call the national human trafficking hot line at:
1-888-373-7888. 
All tips are anonymous.

If you want to know more about the truth behind sex trafficking then here are a couple of books that I would recommend reading:
Renting Lacy: A Story Of America's Prostituted Children, A Call to Action, by:Linda Smith

God In A Brothel: An Undercover Journey Into Sex Trafficking And Rescue, by: Daniel Walker

Off The Streets, by: Chris Baughman

In Our Backyard, A Christian Perspective on Human Trafficking in The United States, by: Nita Belles

Let me know if you read any of these and what you think.
 
We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change the whole world of one person if we get involved and do what we can. 

You may not be able to go on a mission trip or walk into a brothel, but there is something each person can do.  Figure out what that means for you. Then do it.

Thanks for reading,
Jana



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