Last night, as I was sitting and watching The Hunt with John Walsh (incredible show, by the way – I highly recommend it for those of you who haven’t seen it — and if you don’t know his story, his son was the little boy ‘Adam Walsh’ who ‘Code Adam’ at WalMart was created after – read the heart wrenching story by purchasing his book No Mercy) I was deeply saddened as the episode was about Human Trafficking and child prostitution. It made me want to learn more about how prevalent it is in my area, and what I found blew my mind.
Now, I know this isn’t something people generally like to delve into, talk about, and believe exists – but the sad reality is, it does exist and I feel compelled to share some of the things I have found with you.
I found some incredible — yet horrible — statistics that were terrifying, saddening, and eye opening. Here’s what the staggering information I read revealed:
- 70% of human trafficking cases in Lee County, Florida (where I live) involve children.
- The majority of children sold into trafficking and the sex trade are between the ages of 12-14. In some cases, the victims are sold up to 45 times per day.
- Many children are lured in with the false promise of a better life (for children coming from abusive home lives or foster homes), money, jobs, and happiness.
- Most of the victims were subject to one form of abuse or another their entire childhood. This part really got to me and made me cry.
- Human trafficking is the biggest player in the spread of HIV.
- Most people sold into human trafficking are used for sexual purposes – 80%, to be exact, while the remainder are used as work slaves.
- There are more human slaves across the globe in 2017 than ever before in recorded history.
- An estimated 30K people who have been sold into the sex trade will die this year due to abuse, neglect, malnourishment, and disease.
Those are just a few of the many upsetting facts surrounding trafficking. If I’m honest, is this not a form of terrorism? I believe it is. How can these traffickers literally steal people away from their families, and from their lives, and thrust them into a life of slavery – all to make a quick dollar? How do they sleep at night?
I was compelled to do something about it, and so today, I am going to research some human trafficking coalitions here in SWFL and do whatever necessary to join at least one on volunteer purposes. I want to help, and the only way to actually help is to physically move and do something.
(Also, I was reminded of this song when I just said that — amazing song, I hope you’ll listen!)
If you or someone you know are in this situation, you can text ‘BeeFree'(233733) or Call: