Road To Redemption

Sex trafficking is one of the most severe crimes in our world today that breaches every basic human right. It leaves behind the most scarring harmful effects for survivors, both mentally and physically. The sex industry draws women in, in some cases forces them, and uses them like objects for sale for public consumption. It makes these women reliant on their traffickers who threaten their lives and control their every move. The industry often diminishes their self-confidence and sense of self-worth. So, how are these women that make it out of this industry to face the world? What kind of support is offered to them and where do they go once they are free? Unfortunately, currently the odds are often stacked against them gaining back their full independence.

 

    Once a victim is rescued, what happens? Where do they go? Often these survivors at first have little sense of what home is, having been trapped within this industry for so long, and have lost contact with their families (if they had any family to begin with). Don’t get me wrong; there are many groups out there that help these survivors and work so very hard to get them to safety and freedom. These groups typically rest their focus on ending sex trafficking, and ending the issue is quite the battle. However, there are not as many groups out there who provide resources to these survivors once they have been granted their freedom. There are groups like us at Project Cultivate who work to assist survivors through professional empowerment, and safe houses like Treasures that help survivors find a safe shelter and work to give them back a sense of identity. However, there are not enough of these groups. And this is just one problem facing how we fix the many destructive consequences this issue has placed within our society.

    Most safe houses throughout the country have long wait lists, are underfunded, and are in need of volunteer support. Without a safe house to go to, many survivors have nowhere else to turn. They will often check themselves into mental hospitals to get help and find shelter, though most end up at homeless shelters. These options, often coupled with lack of self-worth cause these women to sometimes go back to their traffickers and abusers. Some survivors who are removed from their situation by police are actually arrested and prosecuted for prostitution despite the fact that they were victims of trafficking. With prostitution on their record it becomes much more difficult to get an education, receive government funded assistance, and live fully independent lives. We should not be okay with these outcomes, and while exact numbers cannot be determined to protect anonymity of the victims, this is too often the case.

    As a one nation and one society, we should work to shift the paradigm of what happens to survivors, shift how they are treated after getting out of sex work, because they are not criminals. Their traffickers are. Their pimps and madams and abusers are. If we all treated survivors with empathy and worked to give them justice and empower them to live to their full Godly potential, what would happen?

Would we be able to discuss this issue more openly and prevent more cases from happening in the future? While in the past months lawmakers and politicians have been working to decriminalize these survivors (Check it out one important piece of potential legislation below x), we need to do more.

    Though this issue doesn’t personally affect each and every one of us, we should want to help out those who need it and lift up our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are each purposed to do God’s work here on Earth, and we have the power to enact so much good. Donate to a local safe house, volunteer your time, become informed on the issue, and actively engage this topic with others. Don’t let this issue grow in the shadows any longer.

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Read real stories from survivors of Sex Trafficking here:

http://www.equalitynow.org/campaigns/trafficking-survivor-stories

 

Check out Treasures, mentioned above, here:

http://iamatreasure.com/about/who-we-are/

 

Recommended Reading/Organizations:

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/why-do-we-lock-up-survivors-of-sex-trafficking/?_r=0

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/10/18/498406969/call-for-action-from-a-survivor-of-trafficking-yes-it-happens-to-men

 

http://www.fairgirls.org/

 

https://polarisproject.org/

 

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