To the Editor:
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. One hundred and fifty years ago, our nation realized the fundamental truth that slavery is an insult to humanity. Still, millions of people around the globe, including right here at home, are subject to modern-day slavery. This month, we call attention to this plight against humanity and work to educate the public and ultimately prevent it from happening.
Trafficking can take many forms. Children are forced to fight as soldiers, young people are coerced into prostitution, and migrants are exploited through promises of work and decent pay. One of the most vulnerable populations, runaway youth, are most often trafficked within 36 hours of leaving home.
Calling children who are victims of trafficking “prostitutes” is factually incorrect. Children cannot consent to perform sexual acts, therefore they are not held accountable for their actions. They were brought into “the life” through force, fraud or coercion and held there against their will. The average age of a victim is 11-14. Experts say the average buyer of sex is a middle-aged white man. Nearly 75 percent are college educated and two-thirds of them have children of their own.
“Sex trafficking is a growing domestic threat,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said, adding “trafficking takes place in every state in the nation, and even though we don’t like to admit it, even here in Iowa.” Grassley, who in 2015 helped pass federal legislation that targeted human traffickers, hosted an event last August in Des Moines to educate the public about human trafficking.
If you’re ready to take a stand, call me at (563) 242-7611, to join the Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition in Clinton. And attend the Social Justice Movie “The True Cost” on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at The Canticle, 841 13th Ave. N., Clinton. Learn more at: www.clintonfranciscans.com.
Community Outreach Director