As we step into National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, it's vital to recognize that combatting this pervasive issue requires awareness and action. At Dawn's Place, our commitment to aiding survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation remains unwavering, and our collective efforts to prevent it are equally crucial.
One of the most impactful ways to contribute to the prevention of sex trafficking is by understanding three fundamental truths about this horrific human rights violation.
It Affects Everyone: Sex trafficking does not discriminate. While it affects certain populations more, it is not limited by race, color, gender, or financial circumstances. This is a crime that preys on vulnerability regardless of background. Understanding this helps dissolve misconceptions and underscores the urgency of our unified action against it.
It Happens Everywhere: Contrary to popular belief, sex trafficking is not a distant issue relegated to far-off places. It lurks closer than we realize, in our communities. It happens in neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the nation. Recognizing its proximity compels us to be vigilant and proactive in spotting and reporting suspicious activities.
It Captures the Powerless: It is crucial to acknowledge that individuals trapped in these circumstances do not choose 'the life' willingly. They are often coerced, manipulated, and/or forced into situations that they desperately want to end but do not know how. Sometimes, they do not even understand how they are being trafficked or exploited. Understanding their lack of agency provides a lens to better assist them in escaping, providing all of us with a way to see the prostituted in a way that values their dignity as a human being.
Supporters and allies like you play an integral role in this fight. By grasping these key aspects, you become a part of the solution for an extreme injustice that is deeply embedded in our society. Your awareness becomes the light of justice for those affected and helps create a more compassionate community dedicated to helping everyone who needs support to get the resources they need to begin to live an independent life free from the trauma of exploitation.
Sr. Meaghan Patterson, SSJ, M.Ed., MSW