Taken

The bag was put over their head, darkness closed in, as their hands were bound and they were shoved into the car. The bag would be taken off their head, and they would see the light, but the darkness would still be all around them, suffocating their spirit.

Taken away to begin a new life. A life of misery! A life of being sold into sex trafficking. One more number in statistics that are growing too high. One more hurting child . One more person’s life that is  changed in the blink of an eye!

This danger is so real and the statistics are sickening!

Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.

According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.

  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.
  • The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. Not all are girls, there are young boys being sold as well.
  • California harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas on the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state in the US. 15% of those calls are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
  • The International Labor Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55%) compared to 9.5 million (45%) men.

It is scary and it really is everywhere, not only in the big cities. We live in a small town, but we are very close to a major interstate, easy access for a quick getaway.  Unfortunately the numbers have been rising in our area! We have had talks about it with our children, not to scare them, but to make them aware!

The movie Taken portrays the horrors of human trafficking pretty well. Yes it is a fictional movie, BUT…it does show how quickly someone can be taken and how fast they can be transported out of the country. This is a $32 billion a year industry, these people know what they are doing; they unfortunately know how not to get caught and how not to let their victims be found.

I think one of the most poignant scenes in the movie for me was when the young girls were being auctioned off. My Mother’s heart was breaking and silently screaming. I knew everyone was just actors on the movie, but it was too real. There are too many young girls that are not actresses, they are being forced to play a role in a depressing never ending play.

These men that lure children away are enticing and charming. As the statistics mentioned, a lot of these young teens  are runaways. These vile men prey on them. They promise  them elaborate things, anything looks good to these vulnerable teens. They are looking for an escape from what they are running away from. Looking for shelter, these men offer that and more. They spin the web to attract the fly.

They smoothly make grand promises to the teen, and their young mind gets excited, thinking how their life can change. They put on the charm, before placing the “bag” over the child’s head. By the time the child realizes the truth, it is too late, and their hearts are shattered.

One troubling  local incident happened the other week. It may not have had anything to do with sex trafficking, but it definitely was suspicious. I  am pretty confident that the man didn’t have anything good in mind!

It is the time of year for small town  fairs, and this night 3 pretty teens were enjoying themselves at the fair. They did karaoke, and as they were walking away from their performance, a young man came up to them. He gave them high compliments about their singing and dancing. He continued to say that he knows this may sound strange  since we are in a small town, but he has a buddy who would be very interested in meeting these girls. His buddy works for a  large business who is looking for some talented dancers. Would they come with him to meet his friend?

Gives you chills doesn’t it? Sounds like something you would see on TV, as you sit there on your couch yelling at the TV, telling the girls not to fall for this trap. Its not a TV show though, not a movie!  This is not in some back alley somewhere. This guy didn’t jump out of a car trying to nab these girls.

No, it was done in a very business like, charming manner and 2 of the girls started to get excited. What young girl doesn’t like to be told that she is talented and doesn’t start dreaming about how maybe this is her lucky break!  Fortunately one of those girls wasn’t as easily swayed by his charm,  and she politely told the guy “No Thanks”, as she led her friends away!

Thinking of the children that don’t get away breaks my heart, the ones that get trapped.

 I know that I am not capable of  physically rescuing these children, but I am able to bring awareness to the problem. I am able to help volunteer with our local organization against Human Trafficking. Sometimes its not as much about what you can’t do, but more about looking at what you can do!

 

 

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Taken

    • Yes, so glad she stood up and led the way in saying No. It is sobering and was hard to write, but it laid on my heart and I felt it was important. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

  1. Human Trafficking is an abominable crime that is expanding more and more. Good for you: 1) posting this message and 2) getting involved on your local level. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt – :Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” You are the personification of these words. Thank-you!

    Like

  2. Sadly this is happening more and more so glad one of the girls stood up and said no. I’m question road side signs that invite young people to be exchanged students, cheerleaders or great summer job opportunities. Sex traffickers use women to trap other young women, help kidnap young children etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have supported Covernant House (Toronto) for may years now, and did work (volunteer) for a Crisis Intervention Unit for over 2 years. The following poem is in my book “Just Thinking” (release is imminent), and relates very well to your Post here.

    “Tina”

    My name is Tina.
    I live on the street,
    And sell beautiful deep red roses.
    Necessary in order for me to eat.

    Red roses are a symbol of love.
    But no one has ever bought one for me.
    I dream of somebody who cares.
    That person… will I ever see?

    But let me take you back a while.
    I used to have a home.
    I had a Mom and I had a Dad,
    But I also felt so alone.

    The rules in our house were very strict,
    And, as a teen, I didn’t understand.
    I‘d challenge my Dad quite regularly.
    His reply? Usually the back of his hand!

    He was okay with my brother.
    He could do no wrong,
    But I only had to look at him,
    And I‘d get such a song.

    Then one day, Dad’s friend stayed over.
    I didn’t understand why,
    But he touched me where he shouldn’t.
    I felt scared and, for a while, I cried.

    I told my Mom and Dad,
    But… me they didn’t believe!
    This man was a very dear friend.
    They asked me what I was trying to achieve?

    Why would I lie about their friend?
    What was I hoping to gain?
    Why was I always causing trouble?
    Their response was always the same.

    Eventually my Dad said “Out!
    You can’t live here anymore!
    You’re old enough now, so pack your things.
    I want you through that door.”

    I went to stay with a friend
    In her basement, but that was all in vain.
    Her parents eventually found out
    And… I was out on my own again.

    I spent one night in an apartment stairwell.
    It was okay… but I couldn’t sleep.
    Then the superintendent found me!
    Said “Leave, or I’ll call the police!”

    I was out on the street,
    When I met a man… Neal.
    He said he’d take care of me.
    Bought me a coffee and a lovely meal!

    I spent the night at his place.
    It was warm and dry. I slept.
    When I woke up, it was quite late.
    I found a note from him, which I kept.

    It said I could stay there forever,
    If that’s what I wanted to do.
    I would have to work to help with the bills,
    And do a few other things too.

    It said that he really liked me,
    And was so happy that I was there.
    At last… someone who wanted me around.
    At last… someone who cared.

    I cleaned his apartment.
    It was the least I could do.
    He had given me a home,
    And I really liked him too.

    That evening, he said I would have to work.
    He took me downtown to a place
    Where he said the money was really good.
    He showed me what he called ‘my space’.

    It took me a moment to understand,
    What he was expecting from me.
    To satisfy the sexual desires of men!
    Is that what my life was to be?

    Neal understood, and he took me back home.
    Made me a nice cup of tea.
    He gave me some pills and I felt so much better.
    Perhaps just once… for him. How bad could it be?

    I earned good money, and he took it all
    Which came as a bit of a surprise.
    It was more than I thought he needed,
    But then… he had such a warm smile.

    He apparently had money problems,
    And I could help. I was tough.
    So I went back out on the street,
    And sold myself… but it was never enough.

    He always wanted more.
    He was never satisfied.
    No matter how much money I earned,
    It was… as if I never tried.

    But I did try so hard for Neal.
    To be who he wanted me to be,
    But I started to wonder about his intentions.
    I could never do enough, you see.

    This went on for months.
    Selling my body and soul.
    I coped with needles and various pills,
    But my life was just one big hole.

    I knew this was not for me.
    I had to escape… but how?
    I could run away while Neal was out.
    I could run away right now!

    A friend of his stopped me just down the street,
    And asked me where I was going.
    I said I was going to live someplace else,
    He said “You’re not. There’s just too much owing”

    He dragged me back to Neal’s place,
    And beat me up on the bed.
    He bruised my arms, and bloodied my face,
    Said “Try that again and you’re dead”

    “Neal owes lots of money,
    And very high are the stakes.
    Those people don’t play silly games.
    If he defaults, he’ll be found in the lake!”

    What do I do? I thought he loved me,
    But clearly that wasn’t so.
    I was just a possession which earned him money,
    And for which I had nothing to show.

    I had to leave as soon as I could.
    I could not live like this.
    I was going to leave… right then,
    And once again hit the streets.

    Perhaps I could find a shelter?
    A place which was friendly and warm.
    Perhaps they would want to help me
    And keep me safe? Keep me from harm?

    My name is Tina.
    I live on the streets you see.
    Selling beautiful deep red roses.
    Will you buy one… please… just for me?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Colin for sharing your poem. It definitely goes with my post. Pulls my heart strings once more and may cause my eyes to tear, when reading it again!
      Eager for your book to come out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am embarrassed to say that I was not aware until just a few years ago, how prevalent this issue is, locally as well as nationally. I think it just seems too easy to think it can’t happen so close to home, but the truth is, it can and it DOES. These stories are a big part of the picture in the work I do, and one of the reasons I am so passionate about it. I was able to hear a woman who co-founded an organization that just brought me to tears. Thanks for the post. Awareness is such a key factor in ending the epidemic!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know what you mean, it seems unreal to think that it happens right in our own backyard, but it does! Love all the work you do to help fight it!! Thank you! Love you dear! ❤

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s