Wednesdays are supposed to be my day to write something in keeping human trafficking on the radar in some way. The extreme polar temperatures felt much around the nation this week (it even dropped to 28 degrees with a real feel of 15 for a few hours early yesterday morning in my little section of Florida) are my inspiration for today.
When the temperatures drop, the homeless become more susceptible to death by cold. This is a serious matter and many who wouldn’t normally seek shelter will place more demand on the available homeless shelters, and in some cases, some will regretfully be turned away.
What does this have to do with human trafficking? When Amber Alerts are issued people are on the lookout for a kidnapped child. What about runaways? Sure, someone may file a missing child report- that will depend on the reason the child ran away- but there are so many, they will likely not get much notice. Where do these kids go? Often, the streets. Then they become prey for traffickers. After all, they will be hungry, cold, and alone.
According to non-governmental U.S. sources;
- Average victims age is 11 to 14
- Approx 80% are women and children bought, sold and imprisoned in the underground sex service industry
- Average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years (found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, overdose or suicide)
The largest group of at-risk children are runaway, thrown away, or homeless American children who use survival sex to acquire food, shelter, clothing, and other things needed to survive on America’s streets. According to the National Runaway Switchboard 1.3 million runaway and homeless youth live on America’s streets every day. [5,000 die each year] It would not be surprising to learn that the number of children trafficked in the United States is actually much higher than 300,000.
So please consider the homeless when it’s cold outside. Are there ways you can help in your own community? But especially consider that each homeless person you meet has a story, and some may be in danger of being trafficked and exploited. hat can you do to help before they become victims?
Here’s a link to an informative article through CNN. Yes, it’s a few years old now, but the information is still relevant.