While concluding Women’s Awareness Week for St. John’s Her Campus, I would like to note that women’s issues do not end here. The varieties of topics there are unfortunately are immeasurable, but this is not a time to lose hope. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” The future of the world is in our hands, let us take care of it in the kindest and most humane way that we can, and educating our selves on the injustices of the world, outside of ourselves, is the first step.
To focus on another, more global, women’s issue is the injustice that sex trafficking is, which happens to be the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally, where people engage in commercial sex against their will. At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor, and of these 20.9 million, 98% are women and girls. Women and girls are sold and placed into brothels (a house where men can visit prostitutes). They are living in poor conditions with no money, becoming property to their pimps.
According to the Half the Sky Movement, “far more women and girls are shipped into brothels annually now, in the early 21st century, than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations each year in the 18th century”. Both extreme human right’s issues, sex trafficking has been so masked that many of us do not even realize it happens in our home of the United States – the land of the free. “In a 2014 report, the Urban Institute estimated that the underground sex economy ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, Colorado, to $290 million in Atlanta, Georgia” (Polaris Project). To top it off, our beloved American football, also plays into the role of sex trafficking: the Super Bowl is the largest human trafficking event in the country. So next time we are watching our favorite teams win the championship, remember who isn’t celebrating.
There is no real solution to ending the atrocity of sex trafficking, but that is not a reason to turn away from the injustice. Every abolition movement begins with the understanding that something is seriously wrong and something must be done. It is just up to us to decide what that “something” can and should be.
To understand more about the issues of sex trafficking, both on a global and local scale, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn wrote two best selling books: Half the Sky and A Path Appears, which were also turned into documentaries that can be found on Netflix.
While bringing awareness to women’s issues such as sex trafficking, there are also a few things we can do just from our computers to take a step closer in finding the solutions to end global sex trafficking. “Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking” (Gems-girls.org). There we can donate to help the cause, and there are other organizations worthy of our time and money. Global Goods Partners sells handcrafted products, created by many survivors of the sex trade, by community-based organizations in marginalized regions of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. And, Dot-to-Dot sells children’s books that feature strong girls from a variety of struggling communities. “The publishers aim to educate children early on about issues of international development and the power of young girls to make a difference.”
Check out all their websites:
“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”
― Dorothy Day