National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Help us Spread the Word
Today, the nation observes Human Trafficking Awareness Day, an opportunity to shed light on the growing crisis of modern-day slavery worldwide and throughout the United States. The National Human Trafficking Awareness Day began in 2011 through President Obama’s declaration of January as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Worldwide, it is estimated that somewhere between 700,000 and four million women and children are trafficked each year. In the United States, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 women and children are trafficked into this country each year, primarily for the sex industry. Shockingly enough, the United States is one of the 10 highest ranked destination countries of trafficked persons in the world.
According to the United Nations, the trafficking business – which includes labor, slavery and sexual servitude – nets $31.6 billion in profit from 12.3 million trafficked persons. Human trafficking is reputed to be one of the most profitable endeavors of organized crime and the fastest growing. Police arrest records show that young women can be sold to brothel owners in North America for as much as $16,000 each.
The Salvation Army is deeply committed to the modern-day fight against human trafficking (for sexual and labor purposes) and forms of commercial sexual exploitation innately linked to sexual trafficking.
This commitment emerges from The Salvation Army’s mission – to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination – beginning when founders William and Catherine Booth began protecting women and children from the horrors of the industry in the late 19th century. Upon realizing the magnitude of trade, The Salvation Army began opening homes for women and girls to seek shelter and counseling.
Today, The Salvation Army continues to fight this injustice by working towards legislative and policy initiatives, raising awareness, developing prevention efforts and providing survivor services.
The Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking (IAST) is a Salvation Army program that exists to help create and equip the movement for the abolition of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. This program helps develop and provide information and resources to help other Abolitionists in their efforts to educate the public about the devastating realities of sex trafficking and the effects of the life in the sex industry. IAST’s website offers a variety of resources and ways that you can get involved and join our efforts. Please visit www.IAST.net to get informed, to educate, advocate and give back!
Join us today by reflecting on Proverbs 31: 8-9:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
The above facts and statistics were provided by IAST.