There is a plague much bigger than the pandemic devastating our planet. It lurks around the corner in every city, exists in every country. This plague hides behind the closed doors of churches and schools, and behind computer screens communicating with our children. It travels through tunnels, by air and by sea and along highways. It makes it way into night clubs and hotels, and even exists within homes. The victims it has claimed do not get to have a voice because they are held in bondage, slaves that cannot or are too afraid to seek help. Some never escape and many do not survive.
WARNING: This is not a typical post about how I can help you but rather, how WE can help THEM. The details are difficult to take in, but absolutely necessary to understand.
I realize this is not our usual happy, healthy healing vibe but my intent is to turn it into one of hope. The plague I am referring to is Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation – a parasite so prevalent in our world today yet many are unaware how extreme the problem is. Often the details are too gruesome to face and paralyze even the most compassionate souls because they don't know how to help. My friends - that is why I'm writing this post. Please, if you want to help and give these victims a voice - read on.
July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Designated in 2013 by the United Nations, this day arose out of a need for raising awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights. This scourge is often overlooked, hardly reported by mainstream media and in certain parts of the world governments are doing nothing to stop it.
Help Me Support the Victims of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation
I believe Trafficking and Child Exploitation is absolutely the most important issue of our time and it needs our immediate attention. This is not the rare story of an American 20-something traveling abroad for the first time and being abducted like we see in the movies. Rather it is a very real problem happening everywhere, all the time. It is highly mobile, organized crime - the fastest growing and second most lucrative illegal commodity traded in the world. Because victims can be sold multiple times per day it is a business very attractive to criminals.
Deeply rooted in all corrupt systems across our globe, the evil hand of trafficking can reach into anyone’s life and devastate it. It knows no class, color or creed - it's everywhere both victims and perpetrators alike. And it's constant. According to statistics, every two minutes a child is exploited in the sex industry. Just pause and think about that for a moment. Every two minutes! Customers could be co-workers, doctors, politicians, pastors or even a spouse. The internet age has allowed this darkness to grow into a modern beast that exists right before our eyes, lurking behind many common online platforms we, and more importantly, our children use. From the depths of poverty to the highest castles, trafficking and child exploitation is Big Business, raking in over $32 billion dollars a year globally - almost $10 billion in the United States alone.
Let that set in. Children - our children, our future.
I know it is heartbreaking and that is why I am raising awareness and funds for two non-profits I have vetted and believe in (more on why below). I know people want to help and I want to make it easy. If you love aromatherapy, you can help simply by purchasing your favorite essential oils.
My retail line, Hygieia Aromatics, will be donating 100% of our proceeds from June 30 and through the weekend directly to these non-profits.
You receive amazing, premium grade essential oils and we donate all the the proceeds from your purchase directly to these special operations seeking to educate the public, dismantle the crime, save and support the victims.
Your purchase through us will support the following (feel free to donate to them directly if you'd like):
O.U.R: Operation Underground Railroad
Operation Underground Railroad is led by Tim Ballard, who has worked tirelessly for decades to raise awareness on the magnitude of this problem and tackle it on the front lines. O.U.R. is comprised of an amazing team of former and current law enforcement, state department, and military officials that support active law enforcement in operations that dismantle and prosecute sex and human trafficking rings and save victims. O.U.R. commits to getting victims the aftercare they need to heal from their trauma.
Mr. Ballard is a powerful soul, doing amazing things and inspiring others to do the same. I want to support his organization because they are not only educating the public but working directly with government and legal operations to produce very tangible results. I suggest you follow him on Twitter and watch his videos on YouTube to keep up with the issue and learn more about what you can do (links to non profits at the end of this article). Recently Mr. Ballard wrote a concerning article about the current pandemic and the harsh impact lock downs and distance learning has had on children, causing a significant spike in trafficking. It is important for parents educate themselves about this problem, how it affects their children and the time they spend online, especially right now.
C.R.C Child Rescue Coalition
I learned about the Child Rescue Coalition from the beautiful and brave actress, Blake Lively. Blake introduced C.R.C as her charity of choice at Variety’s Power of Women in 2017. She took to the task of educating the public on the often too-difficult-to-hear truths about just how bad child exploitation has become on the internet. You can see her compelling and emotional speech here but warning – some of the details she reveals are heartbreaking and not for everyone: https://childrescuecoalition.org/blake-lively-highlights-child-rescue-coalition/.
C.R.C is a nonprofit organization that “rescues children from sexual abuse by building technology for law enforcement, free of charge, to track, arrest and prosecute child predators.” They “collaborate with a global force of child exploitation investigators, police officers, digital forensic experts, child welfare agencies and donors to rescue children and apprehend abusers in real time.” To date their technology has helped law enforcement rescue over 2,500 children from sexual exploitation and abuse and led to the arrest of over 600,000 predators worldwide. Again, I chose this organization because in addition to educating the public they are creating a very tangible product that is directly linked to successful law enforcement missions that result in saving children and arrests.
In case you're not convinced, there are many more difficult truths we need to face.
Operation Underground Rescue defines Human Trafficking as:
“Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. If under the age of 18, force, fraud, or coercion does not need to be present.”
These victims, mostly women and children but also include men and boys, may be forced to work as sex slaves, domestic servants, on farms, beggars, child soldiers, in traveling sales crews, as prostitutes, in restaurants and hotels, brothels, strip clubs or for escort or massage services. Organ harvesting is also prevalent.
Here's some of the most recent numbers reported by various organizations and agencies:
It is Now or Never
Like I said, this crime is spreading quickly. The good news is my research led me to discover more has been done in the last few years than has ever been done to quell this growing problem. Government and local operations are upping their game. O.U.R is one of many organizations comprised of ex-military, CIA, FBI and law enforcement working with local and federal officials to tackle down trafficking rings. Other organizations seeking to support victims and tackle the many limbs of this issue are growing in numbers. Learning the signs of trafficking can help everyone get involved in tackling the problem and these non-profits seek to educate the public so they can help (see resources below). Border patrol and the wall being built along the Mexican border has and will continue to significantly reduce the problem in that region. Hotel chains are being held to higher standards and many are finally being held accountable for their failure to address problems taking place on their properties. Here in the United States the current administration is has taken significant action, working with states and military to address the problem.
In order to keep this momentum and cleanse the Earth of what can only be considered some of the most prominent evil, we need to support those working on the front lines, support governmental initiatives and unite, regardless of politics, on this issue. And, we need to do it now.
My company is currently exploring ways to provide consistent support to these organizations and more direct support to victims through what we know best - aromatherapy. In the meantime, help victims by purchasing your aromatherapy products from us or donating directly to an organization of your choice.
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To stay apprised and learn more, here are some links and resources:
Report suspicious activity in the following ways:
Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888
Texting "BeFree" (233733)
Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitting an online form at humantraffickinghotline.org
Read the Trafficking In Person’s Report for 2020 to understand more about what governments are (or are not) doing across the globe:
Take the O.U.R Training to learn how to identify trafficking victims:
Learn More from these Non-Profits, each unique in what they offer to combat the problem:
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