Tuesday, June 4, 2013

End Child Sex Trafficking: Community Task Force Training

BASI Buffalo Team with Sean Wrench, founder of Forsaken Generation
From left to right: Greg, Christine, Sean of Forsaken Generation, Marc

On May 18, 2013, a few members of the BASI Buffalo team traveled to Rochester, New York for the Rochester Community Task Force Training help by Forsaken Generation.  This all day training prepared us to be advocates within our community to help bring an end to child sex trafficking.  The day was split up into four sections: education, awareness, policy advocacy, and rescue and restoration.  The best thing about this training was that it connected the dots between the different components that are required to help end child sex trafficking.  This training also helped each of us see where our talents could best be used to help our children in America have freedom!

Connecting the dots to end child sex trafficking:
Policy Advocacy
Rescue & Restoration

Written By: Christine, Founding Director of Bloggers Against Social Injustice
The following is my reflection on the Rochester Community Task Force Training.

Before I came to this training, I was aware of the overall presence of human trafficking in the United States but I was not certain on all the components necessary to protect and prevent those in modern-day slavery.  I knew that organizations were educating the community while others were working on policies, yet others were rescuing victims of human trafficking.  However, I did not comprehend how these connected.  I am pleased to say that although I am not fully knowledgeable on the issue of human trafficking, I am now more aware of how I can make a difference.  I hope this blog posts helps you discover how you can best help combat child sex trafficking in your community!

It is important to be aware of who, how, what and why. Children can be brought into the sex trade through force, fraud, and/or coercion.  There are many types of trafficking, including: pimp controlled (which may have started with a romeo pimp who posed as the child's significant other), residential brothels, and truck stops.  The glamorization of pimp culture and oversexualization of the media plays a role in creating vulnerable children as well as allowing children to become okay with thinking "pimping" is a positive role to play. If we allow this in our culture, are we training children to think like pimps?

Why doesn't a girl just leave? This is a question people ask frequently.  Victims in the sex trade many times develop Stockholm syndrome, in which captives form emotional bonds to their captors, and may be brainwashed, isolated, closely monitored by the pimp, and/or threatened, among other things.  During the training we read a letter that a pimp wrote for another pimp titled:
"Rules 2 Da game of Hoez!!!"
This heartbreaking letter showed that the key to a successful pimp is control over the girl.  This letter is an example of what pimps did so that girls don't just leave, which plays back into Stockholm syndrome.

When raising awareness in the community, social media, local media, and awareness events are key.  Never underestimate the power of picking up the phone and making calls.  Also, utilize the power of twitter.  As for local events, we broke up into groups and came up with ideas.  Marc had the idea of a flash mob-like scene where may people walked through the mall in groups of three. This idea would include one person/child in chains while another holds the chain. A third person would walk behind the couple, passed out educational flyers on human trafficking.  Like Marc, feel free to be creative and do something that turns heads.  Make sure you ask permission first if you are going to be doing anything on private property.
If you are interested in creating a Freedom Walk, similar to the one I held at my university back in April (Freedom Walk Buffalo), Forsaken Generation has a comprehensive step-by-step guide to organizing and promoting your walk!

Policy Advocacy
"Advocacy is an integral part of saving these children's  lives. Without the proper laws 
in place, kids that are rescued have nowhere to go and are tried 
in a court unfairly and ultimately end up back to where they just escaped from." 
- Forsaken Generation, 2013 

An important part of policy advocacy is working with a local organization (task force or community organization).  Following this, you will need to decide on ways to get your message out.  This is where raising awareness comes in to play.  Then, you will want to connect with your local representatives to gain support. You can do this through letters, phone calls, social media blasts, and public meetings.  Whatever you do, you will want to ask people to do the same so you can be more efficient and more effective.  If you ask one person to send in a letter to their representative, as that same person to ask 3 of their friends to do the same. This will allow more work to be done in less time.  Imagine you asking 50 people who each ask 3 people who each ask 2 people.  That is 300 people who can reach out to their representatives on the behalf of children who are being enslaved.

Rescue & Restoration
There are many ways every day citizens can help with rescue.  You can volunteer at a hotline (after being properly trained), you can place brochures in areas with at-risk youth (truck stops, homeless shelters, etc.), and you can educate first responders.  Actual rescue/street outreach is not safe to so alone, and you should only be considered after training with a task force or organization that has experience with rescue/street outreach.  

Click here to join Forsaken Generation's "Real Men" campaign.
A Special Thank You to all the men who advocate against child sex trafficking!

If you take anything away from this post, I first of all hope you have a better understanding on what is needed to help end child sex trafficking.  Second, I hope you can see where your talents may be best used.  Third, I hope you are motivated to join a local task force.  

Please feel free to comment below with questions, or tweet to us at: @ourBASI

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Ivana Džidić said...

heartbreaking even to think of this...

NaNa said...

an insightful post, thanks for posting such a significant issue!

Anne said...

It's good that there still are people like you guys!


Lara said...

What a great post x

Milex said...

I love everything about it

Anca said...

omg, this is such a horrific thing that's going on... It's making me so sad to think that we go around minding our own business when things like these go on in the world :(

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