Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner?
I can and I can’t.
Here in Minnesota, I try to hang on to the Christmas season as much as I possibly can because come January…
it’s pretty bleak.
Our cold weather doesn’t stop until (usually) the beginning of April so it truly is just hunkering down and waiting… and waiting…
But what am I doing thinking about that now?! We haven’t even had Christmas yet.
Focus on the present Karin!
If you saw last weeks post about Dressember then you’ll know what I want to do today. If not, you can find it here to do a little background reading first.
Basically, I just wanted to share some basic stats with you about sex trafficking and why it’s important to be aware of it in our own cities.
To quote End Slavery Now (most of my information is pulled from this website): “There are an estimated 20.9 million people trapped in some sort of slavery today. It’s sometimes called ‘Modern-Day-Slavery’ and sometimes ‘Human Trafficking.’ At all times it is slavery at its core.”
The most common forms of this slavery is forced labor and sexual exploitation and children are often the targets.
Sex trafficking, in particular, affects roughly 4.5 million victims, and it’s not just an international problem.
Not only is it happening within our own boundaries (“note that sex trafficking does not have to have some form of travel, transportation or movement across borders. At the core, sex trafficking is characterized by sexual exploitation through force, fraud or coercion.” source), it’s also a destination country for people trafficked from other countries.
My state, Minnesota, ranks high nationally for occurrences of human trafficking (this absolutely breaks my heart), so even if you aren’t aware of it, chances are it’s happening where you are at as well.
According to MnDOT the FBI identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 U.S. cities with a particularly high incidence of child prostitution, and in 2015, Minnesota had the third highest number of human trafficking cases.
So what does this all mean? And what can I do about it?
First of all, educate yourself on the issue so that you don’t believe all of the false information that circulates on Facebook on the way children (in particular) are trafficked.
Contrary to the articles claiming that trafficking happens at IKEA on an average afternoon, the children most likely to be targets:
“Reports indicate that traffickers often target children and youths with a history of sexual abuse, dating violence, low self-esteem, and minimal social support.
Runaway and homeless youths—male, female, and transgender—are at particularly high risk for becoming victims, though some trafficked youths continue living at home and attending school. There is also a strong correlation between sexually exploited youths and childhood sexual abuse, chronic maltreatment and neglect, and otherwise unstable home environments. Research findings estimate that between 33 and 90 percent of victims of commercial child sexual exploitation have experienced these types of abuses.3 Evidence also suggests that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBTQ) youths can be up to five times more likely than heterosexual youths to be victims of trafficking due to the increased susceptibility that comes with the feelings of rejection and alienation that are often experienced by LGBTQ youths.” (source)
So what do we do with that information?
First, participate in things such as Dressember to raise awareness. There is so much information that is inaccurate that having a chance to focus on the truth is important.
Second, find organizations in your local cities and either give time/resources to them or educate yourself on ways to recognize it happening in your city.
This is where I’m no expert so I hesitate to give any advice, but I AM hoping to have someone guest post about how we can actually help (and not make things worse by perpetuating the false information).
If you’d like to donate to my Dressember team, you can find a link here.
I just want to make it clear, that I’m not an expert in any of this… I’m learning alongside of you guys so if I relayed faulty information please let me know. I did my best to pull from websites that seemed to have “official” information. And obviously this is just a small snippet of information. There is SO much more to this problem that I have literally barely scratched the surface, which is why I urge you to do your own research.
And again, as with last week, due to the mood of this post I’m simply going to share my Dressember outfits from last week instead of writing styling notes on each day (and don’t judge me for failing to mark off the days until Christmas… you’ll see what I mean in a minute.).
Until next time,