As part of our prevention program at Awaken, we periodically go into local middle and high schools to teach the students about modern day slavery. We address warning signs to look for in themselves and in their friends in hopes to prevent them from becoming victims as well as empower them to stand up and get involved in the fight against human trafficking.
It occurred to me yesterday as I was explaining the different forms of human trafficking that I hadn’t taken the time to explain them to you. There are 5 forms of human trafficking: forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, child soldiers and sex trafficking. The only form of human trafficking that does not occur in the United States is child soldiers. Forced labor, bonded labor and involuntary domestic servitude are all forms of labor trafficking and contain only a few differences. At Awaken, we only work with sex trafficking, which is why my blog focuses mainly on the rights and stories of women in all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
With all forms of human trafficking, you need the recruitment, harboring, transporting or obtaining of a person for the purpose of labor or a sex act through the use of force, fraud or coercion. You don’t need to prove all three, just one and if the victim is under 18, you do not need to prove any, it is just considered trafficking. It is sad, but force, fraud and coercion are often very hard to prove in court. Thankfully, we live in a state that is beginning to crack down on trafficking and recently passed AB 67, which changed the current pandering statute to the sex trafficking statute, which provides traffickers with steeper penalties and increased jail time.
Often times the school district is weary of any group coming into the schools talking about sex, so we found a covert way of bringing prevention into the schools without ever mentioning the word sex! Through building self-confidence and increasing self-esteem, girls are less likely to become vulnerable to being taken advantage of and being trafficked. We talk about our insecurities and how the parts of our body that we are most self-conscious about are actually the very things that make us unique and beautiful. It is powerful knowing that I am making a difference in raising up the next generation to become strong, courageous world changers.
This week, examine your own insecurities and talk openly about how you have processed through and overcome them to a younger friend who may be struggling with similar feelings.