Sex trafficking is horrendous. Child sex trafficking is beyond horrific.
International Justice Mission (IJM) has spotlighted the issue of cybersex trafficking of children. On it's website, IJM says, "In this horrific form of slavery, pedophiles and predators are able to search online and pay to sexually abuse children as young as two years old from anywhere in the world."
IJM tells of one girl's story of cybersex trafficking: "Cassie is a brave girl living in the Philippines. But for nearly five years, she was repeatedly abused and raped for an online audience. From all appearances, Cassie’s trafficker took good care of her. She was enrolled in a great school, she wore new clothes, and had a notebook and backpack for the first time in her life. Behind the walls of her house, though, she was trapped, alone and being abused."
We'd like to think Cassie's story is a rare one but reality is that it happens all too frequently. IJM's website says, "Cassie is just one of an untold number of children being abused online around the world. In the Philippines alone, authorities receive thousands of cybersex trafficking referrals a month."
So what does this have to do with us in America?
Who do you think are the customers? High numbers of Americans are consumers of child porn and child cybersex. And actual cybersex trafficking of children happens here as well as overseas.
The headline of a November 5, 2016 article on WTOC.com in Georgia was, "30 arrested in effort targeting sexual exploitation of kids." Dubbed "Operation Southern Impact," the article said law enforcement efforts "focused on people who possess and distribute child pornography, as well as those who use the internet to exploit children in other ways. Authorities examined 162 digital devices."
What can we do?
- Report anything that seems suspicious.
- Join Hope4Justice's efforts to educate youth about sex trafficking via the STEP (Student Trafficking Education Project) scholarships.
- Come to the next Hope4Justice meeting on 1/17/17 to find out about the Nordic Model successfully used by King County.
We CAN fight back. We CAN make a difference. Let's work together to end this scourge against children.
Hope4Justice is relaunching as a non-profit!
When: 7-8:30 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Where: Engedi Counseling Center, 7370 Guide Meridian, Lynden, WA 98264
Special Guest: Carol Clayton from Skagit Coalition Against Trafficking will join us. We'll be discussing how we can help Whatcom County follow King County's successes against sex trafficking through implementation of the Nordic Model. Come and bring a friend!