“There’s NO Excuse for Abuse”
Violence and oppression against women exists all around the world. In Turkey, over 1000 women have been killed in gender based violence since 2010 and 40 women have been murdered in July this year alone. In the small town of Tenancingo, Mexico, boys are raised to be pimps from a young age and girls are trafficked to be abused over and over again. In villages in India, child brides are sold to older men by their families and stuck in a cycle of oppression and China’s one child policy leads to many gender-selecting abortions of what would be future women. It is inexcusable and needs to be put to an end. It will take a long time, but day by day we can work to reverse the damage done in our homes, our schools, and in our governments.
In America, violence and abuse against girls and women is often more subtle and behind closed doors and therefore can be forgotten. We have made a lot of strides and gained a lot of power, but that doesn’t mean we are seen as equals. One good thing about the chaos of the past four years is that it has openly displayed the oppression that still exists against women in this country. Friend of powerful politicians, Jeffery Epstein, used his fortune to gain influence by abusing young women and almost got away with it, which brings me to my main topic: Sex Trafficking in America. I recently became an ambassador for Shared Hope International, an amazing organization that works with communities to end the prostitution and exploitation of young women and I feel it necessary to share some of what I’ve learned with you.
Sex trafficking happens in every single city across America. The average age girls are trafficked is 12-15 years old and pimps usually go after girls who are in vulnerable situations such as runaways, girls with abusive families, or girls living in poverty. However, anybody can be a victim, especially because all young teenage girls have insecurities to be preyed upon. Pimps have different methods for picking up girls, sometimes they use “boyfriending” where they will sweet talk them and make them feel special and loved and then start prostituting them out, sometimes they will be violent and use force right away, and other times they will pay other girls to act like their friend and then lure them into the prostitution ring. It is illegal to Sex Traffic a minor in America but a lot of times young girls fear getting help because they become completely dependent on their Pimps for food, shelter, love, and sometimes drugs. The Pimps also know all their information and may threaten to hurt them or their loved ones if they try to escape.
This is a problem that won’t go away unless we raise awareness, because there are so many men who perpetuate this system. Men will pay for prostitutes or go to a strip club not knowing that the girls they are with are underage or were trafficked at 13 or 14 years old and never able to escape. It is not innocent to engage in a culture where women are treated like objects and it’s not something that should be normalized. We can all do our part by educating people about the dangers and frequency of sex trafficking, teaching boys to respect women, and teaching girls to be strong, empowered, and to stand up for themselves and each other. Change is only going to happen if we don’t make it and there’s no better time to start creating it than now.
(If you ever see anything suspicious, are concerned for a friend or end up being a victim yourself, please call the Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 or the national center for missing and exploited children 1-800-843-5678 and visit https://sharedhope.org/ for more)
Let's also not forget the racial injustice that exists in America, sex traffickers often targets the most vulnerable people and systematic oppression puts girls in very vulnerable situations and in need of financial and mental support. If you want to educate yourself and get involved or donate, here are Some charities to check out:
Here are some books I recommend:
Here are some movies:
We as consumers have the power to control who we give our money and therefore the power to support smaller, sustainable, diverse companies over racist and greedy corporations. Let’s lessen the gap between the rich and the poor and stop supporting oppression, one purchase at a time. There is an insane amount of information at our disposal, so let’s use it to better our communities and become more aware. A peaceful way to fight against injustice is to stop supporting the people who enable it.
Here is a list of some of my favorite and AMAZING black owned businesses to support:
Here is a list of incredible female owned businesses to support: