We are not safe when we allow the cruel to debase the weak.
The term slavery immediately projects the horrific scenes of black men women and children being bartered and sold in the South. We are rightly disturbed by this dark chapter in U.S. history. Tens of thousands of brave black and white Americans died to eliminate this stain on liberty during the Civil War. Others were imprisoned, beaten and even killed during the 60’s to erase the last vestige of slavery from our institutions.
Despite these acts of heroism, slavery still exists. In the 21st century the new targets of slavery are women and children.
According to Havocscope, a pimp earns $67,000 from a trafficked girl, usually in the sex trade, but forced labor accounts for a significant number of trafficked victims. Once a woman or girl is caught up in the sex trade her life expectancy is only about seven years with homicide and AIDS as the top killers (CNN: A heavy toll for the victims of human trafficking).
Susan Norris was shocked into activism when she learned girls as young as nine were being trafficked in her own quiet Atlanta suburb. Now she runs A Voice for Hope, an organization that brings awareness of this huge problem that often hides in plain sight. Here are just a few statistics from her website:
- 7200 men purchase underage girls for sex each month in Atlanta. 42% of these men come from the upper north side outside the perimeter, 26% from inside the perimeter, 23% from the south metro area, and 9% from the vicinity of the airport. With approximately 3 million adult men in Georgia, 23% have purchased sex with females and 20,700 do so in any given month.
- The average age of a girl entereing the sex trade in the United States is 12-years-old.
- Four-fifths of victims (83%) in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens.
And that’s from just one tiny corner of the problem in the United States. Globally the problem is almost too large to comprehend.
According to Not For Sale, the modern slave trade is the fastest growing industry in the world. The also provide a definition of slavery.
Slavery occurs when one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence, to maintain that control, exploits them economically, and they cannot walk away.
That means globally there are 30 million people controlled, threatened, coerced and imprisoned producing $32 billion of profit for their captors.
How do these numbers affect you? There’s a pretty good chance you have known a family affected by sex trafficking. It is pretty much a given you have purchased goods produced by slave labor at some point in the supply chain – whether it’s farm labor picked tomatoes, a cheap t-shirt, or even chocolate. Click through to A Voice for Hope and Not For Sale to see how you can get involved today.
Photo credit: iStockphotos.com