Now, more than ever both in the United States and worldwide there is a high demand (due to the high profit) and a growing high supply in men, women, boys and girls who are being tricked, manipulated and coerced, into the sex trade. Believe it or not, but trafficked victims have been found in every state in the United States and over 161 countries are affected. An estimated 20.9 million people are being trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor around the globe today.
They may be US citizens or foreigners, have some education or not, but one thing they all have in common is some sort of vulnerability. It doesn’t seem to matter the socioeconomic status or gender but those who seem vulnerable, searching for hope of a better life, lacking education, have no employment, history of sexual abuse, or an unstable home life is what traffickers are targeting. They will then use forms of control, manipulation, violence, promises, lies, and other forms to keep the victims feeling stuck and trapped in the sex industry.
The commercial sex industry goes far beyond what most people understand. They are using hidden ways anywhere from fake massage businesses, brothels, clubs, escort services, street prostitution, modeling and more to keep them trapped.
The traffickers will generally target someone who is young, which is why children can be abducted, sold or manipulated as early as the age of 4 years old. If the trafficker can be the one to trick and mold a childs’ beliefs about themselves and what life is meant to be then it makes it easier for the trafficker than if someone has already grown, has gained an education and already has goals for their life.
Most of these children, girls, boys, or adults may not even know their real name. Many are given a new name, a new identity and that they have no other skills, no money in their name and no gifts to offer except the belief that sex and slavery is the way of life.
Even if and after these victims are found and can be brought into a safe house where they can be given a hope for more there is still a tie to the life that has been created for them. It is hard when someone knows nothing else and has been even making thousands of dollars a day in what they are doing. If there is not something that can actually be sustainable and substantial to them then they are more than likely going to go back to the manipulation, lies and “making the big bucks” back in the trade.
There are so many people in the world with amazing talents, abilities, occupational and business gifts that can be shared with those who believe they have nothing else. This is why I want to teach young girls and women that they are worth so much more than what they could even dream of. The fact that I have a skill as a hair dresser to help others look and feel good about themselves is something that I want to train them to do. Through teaching real sustainability to these women they will grow, learn, change and be empowered now seeing and knowing that they too can have hope for a better life with a skill that will allow them to be creative, see beauty in a new way, and also live financially stable as they continue to build and grow.