Although it’s been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, slavery still exists… maybe even in your neighborhood. Worldwide, more than 20 million men, women and children of all colors and walks of life end up victims of human trafficking rings, forced into sex, or forced to do tough jobs for little or no money.
Jada Pinkett Smith is a tireless advocate for victims of human trafficking, and has made it her mission to end the exploitation of these women and young children.
“A woman should have complete control over her body.” -Jada Pinkett Smith
— Broad In The Burbs (@BroadInTheBurbs) January 14, 2013
Minh Dang is a young woman from outside of San Jose, California, who hid a terrible secret for years. At just 10-years-old, Minh was sold into sex slavery by her very own parents.
“I was taught that this was my burden, my crime.” -Minh Dang
@katiecouric, watched ur show today with jada pinkett smith and minh dang. great show i am now following their organization and minh
— alice pau (@alicepau) January 14, 2013
Right here in America, victims as young as 12-years-old are forced into prostitution. One of them is Angie, a teenager from Wichita, Kansas. After Angie and two friends ran away from home, they were befriended by an older man who threatened them and coerced them into selling their bodies so he could profit. Her story was told in the documentary, “Not My Life.”
“You have these predators who understand how to play on those needs.” -Jada Pinkett Smith
— Teresa Tomassoni (@TTomassoni) January 14, 2013
After growing up with a difficult home life, Asia Graves of Washington, D.C. had no choice but to turn to a pimp for survival on the streets. She is lucky to be alive today. Now, Asia is an advocate for other victims of sex trafficking, working with Andrea Powell, the founder of Fair Girls, a non-profit that helps young women escape their pimps and find another way of life.
“My own family told me that this was my fault.” -Asia Graves
— Tina Bigdeli (@tbigdeli) January 14, 2013
In the U.S., there are also millions of people forced into labor, working grueling hours in sweatshops, factories and homes for little or no money whatsoever. Like many victims of labor trafficking, Ima Matul came to this country from Indonesia when she was 17-years-old and was hired as a nanny in Los Angeles.
“I was physically and verbally abused almost every day.” -Ima Matul
— FAIR Girls (@FAIR_Girls) January 14, 2013
What can we do about the problem of human trafficking? Justin Dillon is a Los Angeles, CA native and the CEO and founder of Made in a Free World, a non-profit committed to generating awareness about human trafficking and modern day slavery. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca is the point person to President Obama on human trafficking and serves as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on this issue.
“It’s not enough just to say, ‘Well I’m not going to go to prostitutes.’”
@katiecouric thank you for talking about modern day slavery! We are ALL affected by human trafficking & we need to be aware of these crimes
— Innocents at Risk (@InnocentsatRisk) January 14, 2013
Do you know how many everyday products you use that are made by slaves? Justin Dillon demonstrates the kinds of products that increase our slavery footprint.
“Having zero tolerance isn’t enough.” -Justin Dillon
— Mikky & Alex (@MikkyandAlex) January 14, 2013