August 13th, 2020
If you’re one of the people jumping on the social media trafficking bandwagon, please take a few minutes to read this information I’m sharing below.
I call this a bandwagon for a number of reasons:
1. None of this is new. To make it appear that it is or that it is worse than it has ever been is not only misleading, but wildly incorrect.
2. It is designed to detract people from other issues, and very intentionally. People are allowed to care about more than one thing at a time; to create a campaign about children only makes it easier to shame people who dare cry out against anything else. Even more than that? A lot of these issues go hand-in-hand, and can be worked on together.
3. Show of hands, people sharing about hashtag children now: how many of you have also shared about the children we’re currently holding in cages, and have been for years? Is it all children we’re concerned about? Or is it specific children, the guidelines of whom are being designed to incite some kind of particular fear in you?
4. Where are your protests? I actually Googled this, to see if there was a massive wave of protesting I missed. I hadn’t. You see, when an issue hits this close to home, as it appears it has for many of you, there tends to be action. Unless, of course, the problem doesn’t actually affect you in the way that you say it does. It sounds harsh, but if you actually believe all of Hollywood is behind some nefarious scheme, then get yourselves down there and do something. I’ll get you a map and donate some gas money.
I’d like to additionally go on the record to share that these issues have personally and deeply affected me, from when I was a child.
And it wasn’t traffickers or the Hollywood elite behind any of it.
It was people we knew.
Pay attention to your own communities, families and friends. Have conversations. Enact personal change. But stop fear-mongering and shaming; there is so much on everybody’s plates, and we’d do best to help clear them, not add to the burden.
The following information was shared on social media by Raven Lo Wise Uh
So I have seen a major influx of sharing about child sex trafficking and the info being shared is quite concerning! My team and I just had this discussion last week! We have been working tirelessly for years on eradicating human trafficking. Where have y’all been? While we think it’s great that people are calling attention to the atrocity, unfortunately, it comes at the cost of no one wanting to address the issues that have been at hand and want to change the narrative to a “more comfortable topic”. But here’s my take anyway! (Note: some of this is copied from another post and I added some.)
There is great intention but much guidance is needed!
Sex trafficking isn’t new. It’s only trending. And it’s leaving out the whole topic of HUMAN trafficking which includes both sex and labor trafficking. If we talk about one, we gotta talk about both because they go hand in hand!
1. I am thankful for an increase in compassion & care for the vulnerable. I want ALL people on board to help bring about the change we so desperately need.
2. I am deeply concerned & I’ve been talking with other advocates about this lately. They are feeling the same concern. Many of us have been speaking out against and fighting human trafficking for years. All of the sudden it is trending due to trying to change the narrative on other forefront issues like racism.
3. The issue with this is that many are spreading fear that our children are going to be snatched off of our streets and that is simply NOT true & incredibly harmful to the work of awareness that is credible.
4. I would really plead with all of my wonderful well-meaning friends to really research human trafficking and sign up for the long-haul of the fight. Please don’t follow sensationalized organizations/conspiracies that create a issue that has never been the true face of exploitation. Unfortunately, there are some political motives in this sudden influx of awareness and that is sickening!
5. Be careful with hashtags. I have recently seen one trending that I have never seen in all of my years of advocacy. I’ve been doing some digging and that hashtag doesn’t link to anything that is truly helping the vulnerable.
6. Human trafficking doesn’t look like children being snatched off the streets. Human trafficking looks like children and adults, both girls and women & boys and men being lured & groomed usually by someone they know and exploited for commercial sex and/or labor. It doesn’t look like IKEA stalkers, Target parking lot creeps, zip ties on side mirrors, conspiracy & wayfair cabinets. I am not saying that it never does because evil is evil and can take many forms BUT I have never heard of a story where this is the case.
7. It shouldn’t take trending hashtags and sensationalism for us to get on board with things like this. I understand that we all have a moment where we are awakened to true suffering and I am deeply thankful for those moments! And if you have recently had a moment like this, great. Please follow organizations who have been leading the way for decades and decades. Please follow sources that will give you credible information. Please continue to educate yourselves and share with others. Please be informed on trauma and the ways we are communicating certain words here. It matters so much.
— Northwest Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition
— National Center on Sexual Exploitation
— National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
— Exodus Cry
— NightLight International
— Project Rescue
— International Justice Mission
If we want to fight human trafficking we need to…
— Invest in safe houses & restoration centers.
— Value family & invest in young boys & girls about their worth & create safe places.
— Start treating our fellow humans, (and yes, even immigrants!) like fellow human beings.
— Talk with children about their own safety & boundaries with others.
— Diligently manage children/teen social media usage.
— Invest time & resources into the foster care/adoption system.
— Understand the very real connection between pornography and sex trafficking. STOP the demand.
— Help take care of the most vulnerable around us. Help safeguard them from being vulnerable to trafficking.
— Set up your churches, daycares, schools and organizations to safeguard from abuse.
— Create an understanding of BOTH labor and sex trafficking and what it looks like in our area.
— Set a standard in our communities that we value people, not bodies. We should not use people. We should validate people’s experiences. We should speak up for justice. We should walk alongside the vulnerable. We should truly love our neighbors.
Books to read-
— Scars & Stilletos- Harmony Dust
— Girls Like Us- Rachel Lloyd
— Paid For- Rachel Moran
Some words to look out for-
X Prostitute = prostituted person but does not always mean trafficked
X Child Prostitute = there’s no such thing! They are child victims!
X Pimp = Trafficker
X John/Trick = Person buying sex
One final note…we cannot solely focus on children here. We must also focus on adults AND the immigrants in our communities who face additional barriers and can become prey so easily.
There are so many in our community listed online for sex and/or labor exploitation every day.
There are people in our community who are being trafficked.
They are children in our community experiencing sexual abuse and exploitation.
We don’t need to sensationalize the issue. It’s horrific enough.
May we get behind people and organizations who have put their hand to the slow and steady work of restoration.
If we can come together, learn together, empathize and pray together, imagine the dent we can make in this injustice. Let’s do this well.
#endit is a helpful hashtag. I would avoid the hashtag that says “save the children” as it has ties to conspiracy & unproven info.