Everyone Needs To Listen To Elizabeth Smart's Trafficking Story
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Politics and Activism

Elizabeth Smart Reminds Us Child Trafficking Isn't Just In Third World Countries, It's Right Here In The US Of A

She lived a nightmare. And you need to listen to her.

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Elizabeth Smart Reminds Us Child Trafficking Isn't Just In Third World Countries, It's Right Here In The US Of A

I had an opportunity to hear Elizabeth Smart speak the other night. It was a benefit in Mesa put on by a ChildHelp ambassador. The 12-year-old behind the event was there because she found out about all of the children being abused and sex trafficked. Her determination to make a change led to the event that benefited two organizations that are making a change.

We have all heard of child trafficking, or at least most of us have. The statistics are mind-blowing. It is not something we want to think about when it comes to children. Children are supposed to be sweet innocent things. We do not want to think about what happens in the dark.

Most often it is the runaways that people tend to think are most at risk. It is true, they are at risk. Alone on the streets, they often turn to the wrong people. This is why the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NCMEC has an entire page dedicated to the statistics. They report that 1 out of 7 children who reported as runaways in 2018 were likely sex trafficking victims.

The risk factors are generally someone who has run away before. A child who has faced prior sexual abuse. A child who has dealt or deals with substance abuse by themselves or a caretaker. These risk factors make us think that it can't happen to good kids in nice families.

Elizabeth Smart breaks all of those molds. She was a good girl, from a good family. She didn't do drugs. She wasn't a runaway. She didn't have any outstanding issues. She was a normal kid. It was someone who saw her and took her away from her family for the sole purpose of using her.

It is not only runaways who are at risk. The 1 of 7 is out of 23,500 who were reported in 2018 by NCMEC. There are a reported 40.3 million slaves currently. Out of those an estimated 10 million, 1 of 4 are children. Across the world, children are being exploited, being used for things they should never have to face.

The sweet smart girl from a normal family lived that nightmare for nine months. She had no idea what would happen to her. She did not know what lay in store for her life. Instead of taking the pain and the abuse and turning it into anxiety and depression she did something. Elizabeth Smart stands up and with the look a wholesome girl tells a story that would make your skin crawl. She lived a nightmare.

There are organizations making a change. ChildHelp has been going since 1959 by two very precious women who just wanted to help some children. Operation Underground Railroad was started by a man who worked child crimes and saw the need to do more. Their efforts while valiant can only do so much. It takes every one of us to do our part. Children should be children, not slaves.

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