As I’m reading more about sex trafficking, and that it’s estimated there are over a million enslaved women and children worldwide (UN estimate 2001: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/slaves/etc/stats.html), I begin to wonder why every time one of them breaks free, we don’t see it in the news. Wasn’t it last year that the man in Ohio was found to have enslaved three of his daughter’s high school friends for over 10 years? That was HUGE news. We were all aghast to think of the kind of life these young women had to endure, living as they did with no freedom. Here in Portland, Oregon, the #2 sex trafficking hub in the country, I now know there are lots of women, girls and boys unable to leave, who have no freedom. These are women, girls and boys who are forced to prostitute their bodies to scores of men every day (up to 40 times a day – eeks.) No freedom to feel the sun on their face, to eat what they want when they’re hungry, no walks around the block or to the park, no telephone calls with family and friends. No freedom, enslaved.
Used to be, everyone thought that sex slaves were imported to the U.S. from other countries, usually under false pretenses (jobs, marriage, etc.). Now we know that vulnerable girls and boys are courted in malls and other places where young people congregate. Poor and neglected children are especially vulnerable. It’s almost too hard to comprehend — don’t you think?
Portland State University is hosting a Take Back the Night action on April 24th starting at 5:30pm in the Park Blocks (http://www.pdx.edu/wrc/take-back-the-night-2011)((yea, it says 2011, but it’s really about 2014)) — it would be nice to hand out leaflets with steps everyone can take to address this issue. If I can keep my attention on this topic long enough to figure out what steps we can take to shine light on it. Maybe I’ll see you there? Bring your flashlight.