I watched a video news story today about 15-year-old girls who trafficked other minors into a life of prostitution. The victims of this story ranged from ages 13-17 and lived in a housing project in Ottawa, Canada. Hearing that it happened at a housing project can lull one into a false sense of security. It struck me, while watching this video, that many may think that this kind of crime only occurs in “places like that.” The fact of the matter is that this kind of trafficking can happen anywhere. So, if you are living in the United States and think something like this can’t happen here; it can and it does.
In 2010, a 15-year-old was preparing to go to high school in the little town of Hilo, Hawaii. Her father was a pastor and her mother worked for a local non-profit. By all accounts, the girl was your average teen. However, when she arrived at school she made “friends” with some girls who were nothing more than “scouts” for a drug and prostitution operation. They got her addicted to meth and eventually stole her away from her family. When she was finally found her life was a mess and she had to go through an 18-month trauma recovery program.
I mention all of this to remind parents and communities that human trafficking is real and that there are people who prey on the innocent to accomplish their destructive and horrible ends. The video reminded me of how we should be aware of what is happening around us. One of the biggest tools that traffickers wield is anonymity. If we take that away, we can begin to shed some light on what really happens behind closed doors.