“Human trafficking doesn’t affect me, why do I need to be aware? We don’t have human trafficking in my neighborhood, that’s only in third world countries!” The fact is, that statement is not true, it just looks different but it’s in your neighborhood.
So, allow me to invade your scrolling space and make you aware. Human slavery and trafficking is force, fraud or coercion of an individual, for someone else’s gain, which feels foreign to our way of thinking. What if we change the term to “sexual exploitation,” does that change the way you may view human slavery or trafficking?
Modern day slavery and sexual exploitation involves so many different facets. Recently in our area 28 men were arrested for answering an online ad to specifically purchase underage girls. There is a site that allows access to thousands of uploaded videos of the actual rape of young girls, and it’s a multi-million dollar business. The young girls in our junior high and high schools are being enticed by gifts and attention and then groomed for sexual exploitation. A woman in one of our brothels has been a top earner for years because she portrays herself as a 12 year-old girl. If you think sexual exploitation is just in third world countries, you are missing the vulnerable women and children that may live next door or be an extended family member. What if she was your daughter? Would you begin to see sexual exploitation differently?
There is a desensitized mentality in our society that allows us to not become engaged in seeing sexual exploitation and therefore compels us to excuse our responsibility of stepping in to speak up and stop the atrocities happening in our neighborhoods. For instance, in the state of Nevada, we have legal prostitution. So, the desensitized mentality is we are the “wild wild west” and it’s our right to have prostitution, because it’s a part of our history and who we are! The fact is, prostitution is only legal in 7 rural counties in Nevada, and just because it’s legal there, doesn’t mean it’s safe and free from violence. Far from it! Covid-19 has closed the brothels, which is a good thing, however the brothels have found a way to take “legal prostitution” out of the legal brothels and move illegal prostitution into your neighborhoods all disguised as a purchase (for thousands of dollars) to have a “conversation” in a hotel room. Rape and abuse now have spilled into our neighborhoods, which gives access to numerous forms of illegal sexual exploitation. Massage parlors exposed when water mains are clogged with condoms. What if that sexual exploitation reaches your daughter? Your family? Your neighborhood? Does that cause you to want to explore a little more about being aware? This sexual exploitation is human slavery and trafficking.
Once you become aware, you have to make the choice of what you will do with what you have learned. Our choice must be to remove the desensitized mentality that has gripped us for far too long, and say, “No more! Not on our watch!” We are committed at Xquisite to lead the charge. We will not sit on the sidelines while our daughters, mothers, sisters, and children are forced into sexual exploitation to appease someone else’s depravity and gain.
My friend, Harmony Grillo of Treasures stated this week, “none of us can do everything, but every single one of us can do something!” We agree! We must choose to do something.