Human Trafficking Hits Home
January 17, 2012
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Until recently, I hadn’t given human trafficking much thought. The victims I pictured were European immigrants or middle-class runaways forced into prostitution. Most of my knowledge came from TV shows or movies like Taken. I never thought of human trafficking as a U.S. problem.
Then, I read Girls Like Us. The author, Rachel Lloyd, founded the non-profit GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services) to help girls who have been victimized by commercial sexual exploitation, more commonly known as prostitution. In the year 2000, a study showed that 244,000 American children are at risk for sexual exploitation. Lloyd herself was a victim of human trafficking and in Girls Like Us, she tells us her story and introduces us to the girls GEMS helps.
I don’t usually read non-fiction, but I couldn’t put Girls Like Us down. It was amazing! I wanted to send her money! (Which is quite unusual for me...) People ask, "Isn’t it depressing?" Yes. Girls Like Us is painful and heart-breaking, but it's also inspiring and beautiful. The girls in this book are worth knowing.
MCPL is challenging adults to read 6 books in 2012. I want to challenge you to make Girls Like Us one of your six. You won’t be sorry.
In 2010, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline took 123 calls in Missouri. To learn more about human trafficking and what you can do to help, visit the Polaris Project website or "like" the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign on Facebook.
South Independence Branch