Monday, April 7, 2014

Take Me Serious: Human Trafficking

For once I just wish someone would take me serious. I feel like most people don't because of my age. I am 22 years old, and yeah I haven't lived a lot of my life, but I know a lot of things. Im tired of telling people about the things I'm passionate about or issues that I am aware on, and nobody believes me, because I'm just Ashley, and what do I know. I couldn't even count the times someone has disregarded what I had to say about human trafficking, or when I try to suggest a healthy alternative, I am currently being educated about it at school in my health class and at my work. OR how about when I talk about disability and access, and people also disregard that, because again I don't know what Im talking about, even though my entire major and focus at school is centered on disability.
 Are you kidding me?
I got into it with someone, because I was telling them I spotted something that made me really uncomfortable and I then suggested that this girl, who was sitting with an older man who inappropriately touched her and she was pulling away, looked terrified, could have been kidnapped. I was told: "That is a huge accusation", (yes, I understand that), "That doesn't happen here", (Yes it does, it happens all of the time), "Stop associating everything you see to human trafficking", (Im aware of the signs, so I can recognize it), "They wouldn't be out in public", (Of course they would, they are trying not to stand out.) "Stop talking about it all of the time, that doesn't happen here, your are making people feel uncomfortable" (are you kidding me, what if this was your child? Your friend's child? It happens everywhere, right under your nose).
If we can't recognize the signs and call it/report it carefully when you see it, we will never be able to make difference in the number of slaves in the world. I would rather be safe then sorry. I was in a position where of course I was UNABLE to approach the young girl and this older man, but that doesn't mean I refrain from doing anything. Even if it is not a case of trafficking, it could have been a kidnapping. It was clearly something suspicious and wrong, and it scared me. This young girl was so afraid of this man, and I just wanted to go over there and protect her. I called the Polaris Project which is a national hotline for human trafficking, if you guys ever suspect anything that isn't right, call this number!
Even if it isn't directly involved with trafficking they do their best to provide you with ways you can help, and people you can call in your area to get it checked out. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE save this number to your phone. Calling could save a life. It isn't worth it, to just ignore, and to not get involved. If not you, who is going to say something? They have no voice and it is up to us to help. 
 Please don't just sit back and ignore the fact that HUMAN TRAFFICKING is a HUGE industry and it happens all around the world, in the states, and in your town. According to the Polaris Project website there are an estimated 100,000 children in the sex trade in the UNITED STATES! This is not something to be ignored, and slavery is not something of the past. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and risk what you have?

If you want more info, contact me and I will do my best to provide you with other organizations you can look into, and information on human trafficking. Please spread the word, it still amazes me how many people are ignorant, unaware, and refuse to believe this goes on. 
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