Screening of the Film Chosen and Discussion
Last week I attended a screening of the human trafficking awareness film Chosen. Two young women speak about their nightmarish experiences. Chosen demonstrated the most common method teenage girls get lured into human trafficking: older men pretend to be their boyfriends, lavish them with expensive gifts, take them to strip clubs, and from there force them into prostitution. In most cases, the older men had been stalking them for months, so if the girls refuse to cooperate, their so-called ‘boyfriends” threaten to harm them and their families. At the end of the film, girls are advised to tell others what is happening and to take action as soon as something looks wrong. Men in their twenties or older have no business being around thirteen and fourteen-year-old girls.
The speakers at this forum informed the audience other alarming information:
- Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world. The first is the drug trade.
- More than 50% of victims worldwide are estimated to be underaged.
- Sex trafficking occurs most often in the states along the coast.
- Girls will now most likely meet their first connections to traffickers on the internet.
- Trafficking takes place in bathrooms at middle schools.
What you can do:
- Educated yourself and others in your community about human trafficking.
- Advocate for laws preventing trafficking and contact your state’s representatives to push for new measures to prevent trafficking.
- Volunteer and donate to organizations that fight trafficking and provide support to survivors.
Report Suspicious Activity to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (24/7 150+languages)
1888-3737 or Text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)
Earlier this month, I traveled to Philadelphia for the Bookbaby Writers Conference. Before it started, I visited the Liberty Bell. Inside the building, there was information posted about the Liberty Bell’s history. It was first used to symbolize freedom during the Revolutionary War, and later it was used to mark the efforts of African-Americans and women’s fight for equality. After leaving the exhibit, I felt it should also now symbolize the fight against human trafficking.
Inscription on the Liberty Bell:
Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof Lev. XXV. v X.
By Order of the ASSEMBLY of the Province of PENSYLVANIA for the State House in Phila
Pass and Stow
On a more pleasant note, I just finished reading the fantastic book The Day The World Came To Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, US air traffic was closed. Over 250 airplanes carrying 43, 895 passengers were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland. The residents of Gander opened their homes, cooked endless meals, and donated clothes, toiletries, towels, and bedsheets to the stranded passengers once they landed. Their hospitality was astonishing. Reading the book restored my faith in humanity.