The Connection: Hunger & Sex TraffickingNovember 8, 2010 No Comments
There is nothing so desperate as a parent unable to feed their child. In the United States we have food banks and social programs to help, but not all food banks have sufficient quantities of food and not all who are below the poverty line have the knowledge of the existence of social programs available, so they make choices which they believe will improve their child’s opportunities and survivability and only when viewed through the reflection of the rear-view mirror of time is it clear those choices were horrific.
The connection. Human Traffickers prey upon those who live below the poverty line. They search, target and access the likelihood of being able to effectively separate the child from the parent in such a way as to have the parent none-the-wiser until it is too late. Too oblique? The miscreants are always searching for their next victim, they are Sex Traffickers. They are looking for the malnourished family, the family living in shelters, on the street, in their cars, etc. They approach the family with “great news” – “I can find your son/daughter employment.” Sometimes it is in the food and beverage industry, sometimes in the agricultural industry, in every case the identified location is sufficiently distant to make it impractical for the parent(s) to accompany or monitor. When a parent is watching their child waste away due to malnutrition and their personal guilt at not being able to provide for their off-spring is front and center and this individual is perceived as the saving grace brought before them by divine intervention, they are not thinking this individual is going to enable the sexual exploitation of their child.
So the trafficker may offer an advance on wages, and a mobile telephone is given to the child for them to keep in touch with their parents - the advance on wages being sent home are immediately useful to feed the rest of the family, and the mobile phone is tested and any concerns with losing touch with their child is assuaged.These parents are thinking about how much better off their child will be in a locale where they will be fed, clothed, housed and employed and not realizing that it is all a vehicle by which the trafficker is separating the child from the parent.
The child is packed up and transported. The child calls home using the cell phone while in transit. The trafficker maintains their Mary Poppins persona and all is good. The reality is the cell phone will be recovered from the child upon arrival at the local where they will be enslaved and their will broken through physical and mental torture. Their ability to counter and cope is often times beyond their young years life’s experience to process, so they will do anything to stop the beatings. These young are now victims of the Human Traffickers and they are there because their family was food insecure and hunger was driving life’s decisions.
The aforementioned is reality. I was most pleased to see portions of this reality projected to millions this past week via an episode of Law and Order Special Victims, in their episode titled: Merchandise. The episode hit all the high points, and in one hour couldn’t possibly develop the complete story line of all of the ins-and outs of how families are taken advantage of, but they absolutely hit upon the tragic end result. That said, I am hopeful that awareness was sufficiently raised to compel a sufficient number of viewers to take action and to look into their own communities. To take a step toward halting hunger in the United States and by doing so lowering the odds that a family will be duped into losing their children to these individuals who constitute the scourge of the earth.
I am confident we will be able to make a dent in the connection between hunger and human trafficking of children in the United States and abroad. We will only be able to do so if we do so together.
I urge you to donate $1, $25, $50, $100 or $500 to help those who hunger in the United States via the Virtual Food Drive of 2010 (#VFD2010). Each dollar you donate will equate to 14 meals with the generous match from Libby’s (dollar for dollar) each of your dollars will provide 14 meals to Feeding America. Our goal is modest, $2500 which will equate to 35,000 meals. Please reach into your pocketbook and give what you are able.
Thank you for your time.
All the best,
Virtual Food Drive (#VFD2010) PLEASE DONATE HERE
Law and Order Special Victims Unit, Season 12, Episode 4: Merchandise
Hunger: When Crime Raises it Ugly Head, Others Go Hungry
Human Trafficking: Children as a Commodity
Human Trafficking: Children in Texas
Human Trafficking: Children in Nevada
Human Trafficking: Children in Southeastern US (Florida, Georgia, Alabama)
US Census: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States