January is many things, cold and gray, somber and overfed from the holidays; slightly towards spring and the coming warmth with just a dash of grudging settling in for the long haul.
But, more importantly it is also......
Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Are you aware?
If not, become aware.
Modern day slavery is thriving in our country and around the world and it will take you knowing for there to be an end. Please take five minutes to read through a website or news report on this subject; don't fool yourself into thinking "this is only happening in foreign countries" or "this is only happening in the big cities." You will perhaps be horrified and shocked to find out the extent of trafficking which is happening in your town, on your streets and in your neighborhoods.
A few stats:
• Average age of entry: 12-14 yrs
• Average mean age: 31
• Average years in prostitution: 11
• Percent younger than age 18 at entry: 42 percent
• Threatened with a weapon: 78 percent
• Physically assaulted: 82 percent
• Raped: 82 percent
• Raped more than five times: 73 percent
• Current or past homelessness: 84 percent
• As a child, was hit or beaten by a caregiver until injured or bruised: 49 percent
• Sexually abused as a child: 65-95 percent
Estimates of women and children
trafficked across international borders each year range from 800,000 to
four million. In the United States alone, the U.S. State Department
estimates that as many as 18,500 men, women, and children are trafficked
into the U.S. each year, many for sexual exploitation (2004).
As for profitability, it is estimated that slavery has exploded into a
$12 billion a year global industry with sexual trafficking constituting a
major part. A girl who is purchased by a trafficker for as little as
$150 can be sold to customers as many as ten times a night and can bring
in $10,000 a month profit. With minimal expenses, police as
co-conspirators, and almost unlimited victims to prey upon, trafficking
for sexual exploitation is surpassing the sale of illegal drugs as the
preferred industry for criminals. In India, there are approximately 10
million prostitutes, and an estimated 300,000 - 500,000 of them are
children. In the city of Mumbai, 90 percent of the 100,000 women in
prostitution are indentured slaves.
So please don't harden your hearts to what is going on!