by Jessica Bielmeier
January has been dedicated to awareness and education of human trafficking. Jan.11 was set aside as a day to recognize Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Trafficking is real, and alive right now, and its thriving, and it’s scary! Scary for each and every one of us, including the children we are raising, and our vulnerable youth out there right now. Human trafficking has been around for many years, decades, etc. also known as slavery.
There is this taboo that our community and surrounding areas have in that trafficking does not exist. The truth is, it does. And I have personally been involved with rescuing several survivors in our area, and other areas in central Wisconsin. This is no taboo. This is real. Education is a key aspect to preventing these awful crimes.
Human trafficking is getting a lot more attention these days, but not enough. And not the right attention.
Human trafficking is a horrendous crime. Those who perpetrate human trafficking prey on our most vulnerable. The victims often do not see a way out and I am motivated to help them emerge from this life of despair. I know that if we work together, collaborate more effectively, and build strong partnerships within our community we can start to eliminate human trafficking, and prevent it by education.
There is so much to be done and this “industry” is one of the wealthiest and fastest growing in the world and they are increasing their recruits around the clock. I, one person, or even a few, cannot do this alone, but together I can promise you that we will make a difference.
Someday your children, nieces, nephews, and or grandchildren may ask you or us, where we were when the voiceless and vulnerable of our era needed leaders of compassion and purpose...I hope we can say that we showed up, and that we showed up on time.
Here is a scary statistic, one in four victims of human trafficking are children. Every two minutes a child is forced into sex trafficking.
One of the reasons I’m passionate about fighting human trafficking is because of this statistic. It breaks my heart because all over the world at this very moment, there’s so many children being trafficked. Take a second and really wrap your head around that.
What’s worse? Some are being trafficked by the very people who are supposed to keep them safe. Yes, children are being trafficked by a family member. If we don’t rise together to fight against this, these children will be left to continue to suffer unspeakable evil.
I am a parent, an Aunt, and a Godmother, and I have a real heart for children. I can’t stand idly by while this continues, and I won’t. Will you?
Families here is your next step that you can start right now-and at home!
On the home front, the best way to fight human trafficking is to build strong relationships with your own children. The family should be their primary point of connection. Home should be the place where they get their strokes and their positive self-image. You can protect them against all kinds of negative outside influences simply by forging a bond of mutual trust.
Let them know that there are dangerous people abroad in society. Then make it clear that they can always come to you with their needs, problems, and concerns. Say things like, “There’s nothing you can’t tell us,” or “You could never do anything that would cause us to love you less.” Children who get that kind of affirmation at home aren’t inclined to go looking for it somewhere else.
What will you do to educate yourself and others to be aware of human trafficking? It could be happening to neighbor, a loved one, or your very own child? If you are unsure about how to talk about human trafficking with your family, please do reach out and I would be happy to give some resources at home, and some great conversation starters.
This month, this January, take a stand with me and call on every nation, community, and individual to fight human trafficking wherever it exists. And as President Obama said back in 2010, “let us declare as one that slavery has no place in our world and let us finally restore to all people the most basic rights of freedom, dignity, and justice.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my message and I can only hope and pray that you join me in educating and spreading awareness. For more education, feel free to reach out: Jessica@astop.org, or (920) 926-5395.
The individual who buys, sells, or exploits individuals are known as traffickers. Traffickers exploit by means of selling, buying, or exploiting for their own benefit. These individuals do not have a particular look. They can be:
Strip club owners/managers
Organized crime syndicates, cartels, or gangs
Neighbors and friends
“The Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines Human Trafficking as:
The recruitment, harbor-ing, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where such an act is induced by force, fraud, coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”