We met June 25th to view the documentary, SEX+MONEY: A National Search For Human Worth, produced by Morgan Perry who also produces for Exodus Cry. Through the eyes of photojournalists who traveled across the USA seeking to understand how the sexual exploitation of children has become the nation’s fastest growing form of organized crime. Morgan Perry asks, “What can be done to stop it?” First, it’s really hard to accept that human trafficking is going on here in America and literally, in our own communities. It’s actually shocking & embarrassing at the same time. However, we’re being slapped upside the face with its reality and now those of us who are listening to our conscience, whether collectively and individually, are searching to be part of the solution.
Second, we are learning that the old meanings to words like pimp and prostitute have drastically morphed. Actually, our perceptions have been wrong. We didn’t have the facts straight, the truth was under wraps. Now, the truth is visible. Since the pieces of this game are finally being understood and brought to the table. Linda Smith of Shared Hope International says, “We have a huge public awareness campaign ahead of us.” Fortunately, the laws are changing. Fortunately, law enforcement is siding with the victim. Fortunately, the pimps and johns are being prosecuted. It’s now clear, that prostitutes have been the victim all along. They come from a past of sexual abuse. In Dr. Steven Schoger’s practice as a Marriage & Family Therapist, he explains the “the psyche forms around any abuse.” These girls “learn that relationships include being victimized sexually.” Prostitutes are now being treated for the victim that they are. Prostitutes aren’t getting arrested for the “pimp or john’s” crime anymore. With the help of new legislation, prostitutes will be given social and medical services, along with a safe place to stay. Right now, there is a huge need for more housing!
Third, we have to understand that runaway girls are being groomed for prostitution. Kristy Childs, Founder of Veronica’s Voice says, “A 12 year old girl running away from home is being groomed for prostitution. Uncle Joe is coming over, touch, touching and pat, patting her, then giving her ice cream money.” These kids aren’t running to something, they are running away from something, says Ernie Allen. It’s no wonder that human trafficking is the second largest crime in the US, “when 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience some sort of sexual abuse before the age of 18.” It makes sense to Psychologist Erin Otis, who reports that over 75% of these girls have been physically abused by their family members.
To understand the vast issue of human trafficking is to be compelled to do something. NoCoAb isn’t trying to re-invent any wheels at this point. We are getting involved where GOD’s opening doors and where there is consensus within our people. There is a multitude of ways to get involved. That is the good news. I’m reminded of the thought out of GOD’s Word, “Don’t despise small beginnings.” Yes, I can get overwhelmed easy enough, but watching, waiting and being willing to step into what’s right in front of me is going to make the most sense. Then, I need to be thankful for whatever GOD allows me to do. His plan will take shape in me one step at a time. I don’t want to despise the “small beginnings” that will either grow into something bigger or redirect me somewhere else. If you want more information in what we are doing in our community please contact us. If you want to share what you’re doing, we would love to hear from you and/or come alongside of you.
Finally, it was wonderful to meet new friends and hear how they heard about us: Facebook “Shares”, flyers around the North County, invites. “Friends telling friends” is the grassroots way to build relationships, unite our voices and pull together resources to make a difference. Thank you Rebecca Turner, from CC Freedom Network, for bringing your heart and experience with trafficked victims in SLO into our discussion. We appreciate the effort and time that it is taking to build your team.