On Our Soil
Recently I purchased a giving key with the word Freedom. I for one, as a licensed social worker, with a masters in social work, and supreme dedication to all causes preventing violence against women, and children, am a total sucker for anything that goes to benefit human trafficking.
I work in New Jersey for a human trafficking prevention/commercial sexual exploitation of children initiative based around youth. All of us, work to prevent domestic minor sex trafficking within the United States. We run ten-week groups with male and female youth that cover definitions of human trafficking, recruitment tactics, pimps/traffickers, self esteem, sexual healthy, drug use, healthy relationships and more. We also bring a human trafficking survivor to come speak with the youth every time we run a cohort.
Recently, the state cut our funding. We went from a full-time 8 person team, to a team of 2 1/2 people. My position was cut, and the agency I work for had to place me in a different program so that I could keep my job. But, our on-staff survivor facilitator (who is also a close friend) is who I am extremely concerned for. She is burning herself out telling her "high" profile story as many as she does just to make sure that our youth get the message, that they truly have something to relate to.
She is a beautiful human being, and I wanted to pass my Freedom key forward to her. Human trafficking is a trending topic, and as a whole we need to be more concerned with what is happening here on our soil. Almost 300,000 youth are exploited yearly, and within 48 hours of a child running away from home a pimp/trafficker will pick them off the streets, but most importantly there are less than 100 safe beds for youth being exploited to turn to.