Saturday morning I had the opportunity to attend the Patriot’s United 5th Annual Unity Breakfast in Crystal Lake. Hundreds of area residents gathered to learn more about an undercover attack on human rights: slavery.
Despite slavery being illegal in every country, a modern day slavery is thriving. In developed nations, this modern day slavery manifests itself primarily in sex slavery. "Human trafficking is highly-organized and lucrative business, generating close to $32 billion per year." (exoduscry.com) Millions of women and girls around the world are forced into prostitution and sex slavery by the human trafficking industry, one of the darkest and most hidden evils today.
The causes of this issue are rooted deeply in our society. Keynote speaker, Laila Mickelwait of the human trafficking awareness organization Exodus Cry, brought to light several shocking instances of the sex industry at work in areas where we would never expect to find them. Advertisements and media continue to drastically objectify and sexualize women to sell products via sex. Child pornography, the majority of which involves children under ten years of age, is flourishing in the pornography industry. According to a National Children's Homes report, the number of Internet child pornograpyy images has increased 1500% since 1988.
Also in attendence was local leader and advocate for victims of human trafficking, Belle Staurowsky from the Green Tara Project. "Human trafficking relies on a ready supply of human beings whose desperate circumstances in life often make them vulnerable to psychological and physical intimidation, coercion, kidnapping, and, eventually, enslavement." (greentaraproject.com) Recognizing the severity of this problem not only globally, but also locally, is the beginning to help solve the problem.
In light of this information, it is impossible not to act. Congressman Randy Hultgren spoke of his efforts in Washington to prevent human trafficking, including sponsoring a showing of Exodus Cry’s educational film “Nefarious” in the Capitol building. Exodus Cry is continuing to raise awareness of the evils of sex trafficking with a new film, “Liberated”, as well as work to rescue and counsel women and girls enslaved by human trafficking.
If you would like to get involved, contact my office for more information about legislation fighting human trafficking and pornography in Illinois. Additionally, become informed on the work of organizations such as Green Tara Project and Exodus Cry and help raise awareness on modern day slavery. The time to stop human trafficking is now.