Shine A Light On Slavery

Shine A Light On Slavery

Be in it to end it.

Yesterday, Feb 23, was something called “shine a light on slavery day”. While this may seem like a small gesture, people around the world, inspired by the "End it Movement" drew red X's on their hands, wore a big red X, and posted pictures on their social media raising awareness for human trafficking. While drawing the X’s doesn’t end slavery, it raises awareness among people about this $32 billion industry that thrives on the exploitation of humans just like you and me. This industry is the trade and enslavement of humans and more specifically the trade of humans for sex.

While this movement to draw and wear x’s comes from the “End it Movement”, who partners with organizations such as Out of Darkness, The International Justice Mission, a21, and others, the movement has grown. Just a few days ago, Ashton Kutcher presented before the Senate calling for more action to tackle child sex abuse. Celebrities posted pictures with the End it X, people like Carrie Underwood, and Kristen Bell.

Lately, I have begun to realize the shocking presence of the sex trade in our society today and how desperately it needs to be addressed. Today, over 20 million people around the world sold and bought. An estimated 300,000 of these victims are children, meaning 1 in 5 victims under the age of 18 and the average age to enter the slave trade is 12 years’ old. In a school sponsored event this week I learned typical timeline for teenage girl entering sex trade beginning anywhere between ages 12-15 girls may run away from home, be picked up by a pimp, put on a site like "back-page" and very quickly start servicing between 5-10 men a night. There is a very low possibility these girls will ever be rescued, only 1-2% of slaves ever are. They may run away from the sex trade, may get too old, or may never leave this industry.

In 1850 an average slave cost $40,000 in today’s money, and today, a slave costs about $90. Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim, and there are more slaves than at any other point in history.

The unfortunate reality is that we are all connected to slavery. People our age, both boys and girls are sold in the slave trade. People our little sister's age, our little brother's age. While the reality is that we are closer to human trafficking and sex slavery than we think, we are closer to ending it than we think. We can raise awareness – learn how through the End it Movement, wear an X and show that you stand to bring an end to this industry. Know the warning signs among people your age. Become educated through the International Justice Mission, Department of Homeland Security. Advocate for this issue with your friends and family, like I am now. Realize that this isn't a Christian issue, a racial issue, a male or female issue, or a US issue, but this is a human issue. Realize the reality of this horror in our society, and be in it to end it.

Cover Image Credit: Becca Colehower

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How Can We Bring About More Positivity?

There have been countless tragedies/negative events this week. We need to band together instead of being divided.

This past week has been filled with a large amount of tragic and negative news. Earlier today, a few of my coworkers and I got into a debate about all the recent events that transpired. In regards to the shooting that took place in Parkland, FL (R.I.P. to all the souls last in that tragedy), some of my coworkers felt as if society is to blame for the actions of this 19-year old; however, a few others believe that it falls upon the parents to properly censor what their children are exposed to.

In order to get a deeper understanding on the viewpoints of these tragic issues, let’s take a minute and explore these positions. Society does play a huge role in the development of children (due to the exposure through social media, television, etc.), and it also has a huge influence on the human population as a whole. Despite however many people think they are “anti-government” and they “don’t follow everyone else”, there are still things that those people do that are, in fact, influenced by society somehow.

I’m not a parent, so I cannot really comment on this viewpoint as strongly as an actual parent can, but many of my coworkers felt strongly that this shooting, along with a sixth grader writing a very hateful note yesterday, all comes down to how the child was raised. Yesterday, a sixth grader wrote a note that threatened the students and faculty, saying he was going to “shoot their ugly a**es” and called them “you b*tches”. It is truly sad to see such a young individual write such hateful and threatening words.

How can we stop this?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Florida Shooting: When Does It End?

The violence that plagues our nation.

There is nothing more heart breaking than turning on the news and seeing the words “school shooting” pop up on the screen.

Instead of being a rare tragic event, it has become an all too common headline. Valentines day, a day of love was turned into a day of tragedy as 17 children were shot to death attending school. 17 parents unknowingly said their last “I love you” and gave their children their last hugs. 17 innocent children lost their lives because of a mentally ill teenager having access to weapons. 17 daughters and sons, 17 neighbors, 17 brothers and sisters, 17 friends lives were cut short.

Who is next?

How many more people have to be killed before Congress steps up and fixes the gun violence problem. Guns do kill people; guns destroy lives, families, and communities. Heartbreak and solitude plague the nation for days, even weeks after these events. People post on social media begging and pleading for Congress to help, but nothing shifts their indifference. Their indifference has allowed for people to be killed.

What has to happen before it stops? My sisters attend school and everyday I fear I will have said my last goodbye. School is a safe environment to learn, but it has become a place which breeds fear in it’s walls.

Alyssa Alhadef, Scott Biegel, Nicholas Dworet, Martin Anguiano, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenburg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, and Peter Wang all had dreams and aspirations they will never be able to achieve because our government has failed to protect them.

Families have been torn apart and broken. Sadly, this is not the first time, nor is it the last. As citizens, we elect members to government because we trust they will fix the problems that plague our society, instead they sit with their thumbs in their mouth. Democrats and Republicans alike should both value human life, instead they watch everyday as someone new robs people of their life. Where is the humanity in that?

Of course it is a lot more complex than it may seem, but they have failed to fulfill their duties as government officials. We need to work towards a solution, not stand by and wish things didn’t happen. Thoughts and prayers do not stop killing, policy and change does. My heart goes out to all those affected by this terrible event, you are all in my prayers.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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