Despite great strides made by human rights activists, women and girls around the world are still coerced into servitude, married as children, or trafficked into forced labor and sexual subjugation.
Appallingly, around 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year and millions more are traded within borders. Human rights groups have estimated that there are at least 2.5m people in forced labor at any one time, including sexual exploitation and bondage, as a result of trafficking. Women suffer most in this respect: 80% of victims of international trafficking are girls forced into some form of prostitution. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where repression and rape are perpetrated as weapons of war. Around the world, death related to pregnancy and childbirth is needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives. Organizations like FAIR GIRLS, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc. are working toward the realization of women’s empowerment and gender equality—protecting the rights and improving the lives of women who have fallen victim to exploitation.
That’s why I work with FAIR GIRLS, an anti-human-trafficking organization based in Washington, DC. It stands for Free, Aware, Inspired, Restored. As an advocate and ambassador, I actively serve as a counselor to girls who have been victims of bonded labor and human trafficking, and I do my very best to help traumatized young women get back on their feet and empower themselves through educational programs, mental health and positive thinking.
Andrea Power, the founder of FAIR GIRLS, is a mentor to me and a tireless crusader for disenfranchised and marginalized young girls and women. I’m honored to work with Andrea and her colleagues and delighted that I can try to make a difference in the lives of those affected by sexual slavery and inhumane conditions. I encourage everyone to get involved and make a difference!
Just consider these frightening facts:
Modern day slavery exists
In our world today, an estimated 27 million people live in slavery. Though most people hold the belief that we already abolished slavery, there are more slaves now than at any point in history. Human trafficking—the illegal trade of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor—is the second largest international crime industry, generating profits of $32 billion a year.
Human trafficking happens in our own backyard
Each year around 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year, and between 300,000-500,000 American-born children are coerced into child prostitution. It’s occurring in restaurants, hotels, strip clubs, massage parlors, people’s homes, the streets, etc.
Survivors have nowhere to turn
Most U.S. communities do not have dedicated safe houses to address the needs particular to survivors of human trafficking. Many shelters only offer short term housing and have few spaces available. Unfortunately some survivors return to their former lives of bondage and servitude because they feel like they don’t have anywhere else to turn.
Fair Girls offers a solution
FAIR Girls (formerly FAIR Fund) pioneers a model of empowerment and education for exploited survivors that is breaking the chains of coercion and exploitation. Through education, compassion and care, FAIR Girls creates opportunities for girls to become confident, happy, healthy young women. Find out more about FAIR Girls by clicking on the image below...
Alessia Sushko | Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved