While there have been various opinions on this issue, it had raised a lot of awareness for this tragic reality and because of these posts, I have learned things I had no idea about.
I had previously assumed that human trafficking only really happened a few ways: Big Urban Cities, Over-seas, or horrific families selling their family members-usually children. So I did not imagine that it would touch my tiny Iowa rural life. I have seen come correct.
I live in Iowa, I recently learned that trafficking affects every single Iowa area, towns and cities, big or small. All of them. While lots of us soccer moms may be paranoid about being abducted at the mall, the real risk is to run away teens. They don't need to be snatched from a shopping center. These kids are easily fooled and lured and then trapped. After 36 hours away from home, the risk of entering a trafficking ring are huge.
Here are some more terrifying stats I learned:
"10,000 prostitues were brought to the Miami super bowl. The number since then has gone up since then. The super bowl is one of the Largest sex trafficking incidents in the world. Think about it. There's people everywhere who are drinking and wanting to have fun. Not alot of people notice whats going on around them so its easy for people to get away with this. At the Miami super bowl 133 people were arrested for underage prostitution. We should stop this by adding more security at the super bowl."
I'm going to need to correct this stat. Calling victims who are children or under-age (which many of these men and woman are likely to be) is very damaging. These victims are not sex-workers who made a choice. They are enslaved children.
This is an industry making billions. Estimated 32 billion dollars in 2016, because of the money here, this is not an industry that is going away.
I live in Iowa. I recently learned that Des Moines has been identified as one of the top 100 places for human trafficking. "Polaris identified Des Moines in the top 100 locales by scraping data from paid online sites, where customers review sex workers. It found eight locations in the city, according to Rochelle Keyhan, who is directing the national effort."We found 45 (locations) in Iowa and eight in Des Moines," she said. "Those are conservative estimates. Law enforcement typically identifies 150 to 200 percent more than our initial numbers."- Des Moines Register . com
"Believe it or not, human trafficking touches nearly every town in Iowa; big and small. It’s often hard for people to believe it’s happening in their own communities. Studies show victims in Iowa are typically young girls between 16 and 19 years old." - whotv . com "Hiding in Plain Sight the Story of Human Trafficking in Iowa"
Girls between the ages of 16-19
This week in my little town a 16 year old girl ran away from her foster home. My heart got so heavy with worry. Thankfully through the power of social media I am a part of several community pages and I shared some of what I learned in the community page. I received an over-overwhelmingly good response with many parents appreciating information they had not had and going to talk to their kids.
While it is certainly important for us as parents to be alert and wise when we are out shopping alone, the biggest risk here is to our teens. We can however be a part of creating change. Through all this I found out my town has a local meeting to help stop human-trafficking. I found out ways I can help in community. I also found resources so I can be best prepared for talking to my kids as they grow and talking to the teens in my life that I love. I have nieces and nephews that I want to be safe too- kids who are teens right now.