If you know me, you likely know that my passions lie in helping others. I am an advocate for victims, a mentor for teen parents, and I speak out against abuse. In more recent years, human trafficking has taken up a huge place in my heart, and I was recently honored to be able to work with a friend and shoot some awareness photos for the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado. The photos were used in a slideshow during their 6th Annual Symposium.
When people think of human trafficking, images of India and Africa and Asia pop into their minds. Our local organization, The Exodus Road, recently put out a book of the same name by Laura Parker (senior vice president) with her husband, Matt Parker (president and founder), which details their own journey into the trenches of sex slavery. It is heartbreaking and inspiring, all at the same time.
If you’re in the area, you should visit them and take a tour of their offices. (Join their Facebook page.)
And you do NOT want to miss the rocks. Go in and ask about the rocks.
So, it’s true — this horrific crime against humanity IS happening over there, but it’s also happening here, in our own backyard. It’s an EVERYWHERE problem, thus the push for awareness. And I’m sharing here because we as artists can take part in the process of awareness by using our time and talents to speak out.
There is also a misconception that when U.S. children and teens (and adults) are trafficked, they are taken off to other countries. The truth is, many are kept right here on our own soil, sometimes in their own states, sometimes in their own cities (or the nearest big city). The prostitutes you look away from? They might be sex slaves, owned by pimps, doing what they are being made to do.
Isn’t that hard to wrap your brain around? What about your heart?
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”
If you didn’t know before, you know now. So the next question is, what will you do to help? Whatever it is, begin now. Someone is waiting for you to take action.