Recently President Obama declared January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. It is great that this issue is being taken seriously by those in the halls of power. Here is the beginning of what Obama said in his speech (and you can read the whole thing at the link):
Nearly a century and a half ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation — a document that reaffirmed the noble goals of equality and freedom for all that lie at the heart of what it means to live in America.
In the years since, we have tirelessly pursued the realization and protection of these essential principles. Yet, despite our successes, thousands of individuals living in the United States and still more abroad suffer in silence under the intolerable yoke of modern slavery.
During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we stand with all those who are held in compelled service; we recognize the people, organizations and government entities that are working to combat human trafficking; and we recommit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse.
Human trafficking endangers the lives of millions of people around the world, and it is a crime that knows no borders.
Trafficking networks operate both domestically and transnationally, and although abuses disproportionally affect women and girls, the victims of this ongoing global tragedy are men, women and children of all ages.
Here in Berks county the organization Freedom and Restoration for Everyone Enslaved (FREE) is working to mobilize citizens to become activists in ending human trafficking. I have been taking part in FREE meetings for over a year and the more I learn the more I want to do…and on some depressing days feel like there is very little I can do. My role with FREE is to lead the group that seeks to educate and equip faith communities.
You can read my first monthly email to local faith communities here.
One thing we can do today to take action is to call for the release of Sara Kruzen. Sara was raped at age 11 and then forced into prostitution by the man who raped her at age 13. At age sixteen she fought back, killing the man who was her rapist and pimp. Since then she has served 17 years in prison. There is a movement to call on the governor of California to step in and release her.
Sara is not a criminal, instead she was the victim of repeated crimes who fought back in self defense.
Sadly, there are many like her out there who are used and abused every night. Much of the rest of society sees them as “whores” and “hos” who chose that life. The truth is they are victims who need our help. The real criminals are the pimps and the men who buy these girls.