For today I had a totally different blog topic scheduled, but I decided to postpone that to talk about this matter. My goal is not to overwhelm you; that tends to happen around heavy topics such as this one, but that has never stopped me from discussing them. It is imperative we talk about them, for the sake of those involved. I'll do my best to keep this light, stick to what's important, and tell you about a few ways you can help that I'm sure you'll like.
If you follow me on Instagram (social links at the top of the page), you might've noticed that yesterday was World Day Against Sex Trafficking, an evil we have been combating for years and years now. It is a difficult topic, no lie.
Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud, or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act. It thrives because, sadly, there's serious demand. Traffickers find victims majorly through their social network, home neighborhood, clubs, and bars. Then, they lure them with promises of protection, love, adventure, a home by using fear, violence, intimidation, and threats to their advantage.
And the statistics are not pretty.
There are more people enslaved today than any other time in the history of the world —even when slavery was legal. Society may call it prostitution, but federal law calls it sex trafficking. And we must help to stop it, however small the action may be. No matter the day, you can still help the cause. There are several things you can do, and the first is helping prevent it.
The following are potential warning signs that a child may be groomed or trafficked:
Signs of physical abuse such as burns, marks, etc.
Unexplained absence from school
Sudden sexualized behavior
Withdrawn, depressed, or distracted
Bragging about making a lot of money
Older boyfriend, new friends with different lifestyle
Disjointed family connections
Pimp/traffickers often display the following characteristics:
Jealous, controlling or violent
Significantly older than companion
Promise things that seem too good to be true
Good at bonding with children and building trust
Pushy or demanding to do activities the companion may not want
Speaks for companion
Expresses financial difficulties to manipulate victim
It is our job to, when in doubt, do what it takes to be sure. Mexico's National Hotline (01800 5533 000) operates all year round 24/7 and you can dial toll-free. If you need help or advice and are in the United States, call 1-888-373-7888 toll-free.
You can also support organizations that work towards this goal. I recently found and started working with an activewear brand called Acta Wear, whose mission is to help athletes pursue the best version of themselves, through sport and charity. Every single one of their products has four dots that represent the charities they give back to:
When you make a purchase with them, you get to choose the charity a portion of your payment goes to. I am so proud to be one of their brand ambassadors and be able to offer you a 15% off with my code doremifa15.
You can also donate directly to OUR (Operation Underground Railroad), the organization Acta gives their sex trafficking donations to. They have rescued around 3,800 victims and arrested 2,100 traffickers. Another organization is Shared Hope International, which takes action to prevent conditions that foster sex trafficking, restores and empowers survivors, and brings justice to those vulnerable.
Here are other Mexican organizations you can lend a hand to:
Millions of people need us, and sure, our impact might not reach enormous lengths. But no matter the size of our effect, they are counting on us. We can't continue to turn a blind eye towards a growing problem, because then we becoming a part of it. Even a single donation can change it all for the better, but not only money has power here, your voice does too.
Resources: Shared Hope International, Operation Underground Railroad, Acta Wear