In the beginning of August this year, Voluntaryism in Action launched the “Free Our Children” fundraiser to help victims of child sex trafficking. This is an issue that seems to be widely disregarded by our government and media, or at the very least, not reported on often nor discussed—especially when it involves prominent figures. The shocking reality is that sex trafficking produces over 99 billion a year in illegal profits. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that the best data suggests that over 100,000 American children are subjected to child sexual exploitation a year.
Thanks to our gracious donors we were able to raise over $10,000 that we granted to organizations that were exclusively working with victims. $7,000 was granted to our partner Operation Underground Railroad, while $3,000 was given to The Demand Project. Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R. Rescue) was founded in December 2013 and was created to safely rescue children and give them the proper aftercare by partnering with safe homes. The Demand Project is located in Oklahoma, where it establishes private residential campuses to assist survivors with recovery. Both organizations have an option for people to become a monthly donor and join the fight against sex trafficking.
It is important for us to be cognizant of the children in our lives and to learn the signs and indications that someone you know or not know is being trafficked. If you see general signs of physical abuse, withdrawing from social situations, disinterest in activities, unwillingness to share information about caregivers, or if the person is frequently in possession of hotel card keys, false IDs, or prepaid cellphones you may be dealing with an instance of trafficking.
This issue is ever growing and is not as we imagine it. Trafficking can look as innocent as a mother or father taking their child to a friend’s house. As this pandemic of its own expands, thousands of innocent children and adults’ lives are turned upside down. We hope that our efforts, however small on a grand scale, will positively impact survivors.
Every thirty seconds, someone becomes a victim of this nefarious business and typically they are trafficked by trusted loved ones. In fact, in the time it took you to read this (depending on how fast you read) 4-6 children were trafficked.