Buying and selling a person—now called human trafficking—is the sale of a person for labor, sexual exploitation, and profit. Think about that. Humans are bought and sold as if they were cattle. It sounds impossible that something like that occurs in the U.S. in this century, but this issue is real and a big problem, even in Wake County. North Carolina ranks in this country's top 10 for states with a human trafficking problem.
To shed more light on how pervasive this issue is, Shield NC, an organization working to help victims of human trafficking, reports these startling statistics:
- 40.3 MILLION PEOPLE ARE SLAVES WORLDWIDE; 24% OF THOSE ARE CHILDREN.
- THE AVERAGE AGE FOR ENTRY INTO SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE US IS 12-14.
- 1 IN 5 RUN-AWAY CHILDREN WILL BE TRAFFICKED.
- 75% OF TRAFFICKERS WERE ABUSED AS CHILDREN.
The fallout effects from human trafficking are devastating. The mental and physical abuse that takes place is inhumane and often victimizes the most vulnerable. Many may think this only occurs in far away, impoverished areas. The disturbing reality is it's a huge business that's likely taking place at your child's school or in your very own neighborhood. Shield NC reports trafficking is a $150 billion industry. A pimp can generate as much as $632,000 in annual income.
Another NC organization battling human trafficking through the Salvation Army is called Project FIGHT. According to their organization, since 2007, over 4,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in the Carolinas. More than 65 percent of these cases were trafficked for sexual purposes. Even more upsetting is that more than 30 percent of these victims are minors. Project FIGHT states their youngest clients are just 11 years old.
When someone is rescued from this nightmare, there are many services needed to heal the body and soul. Designed For Joy (DFJ) is working alongside Project FIGHT, Shield NC, and other organizations to free and help those recover from human trafficking. "The mission is bringing a method to combat international human trafficking onto the domestic stage. At Designed for Joy, survivors have the opportunity to learn a skill, as well as acquire a letter of reference for future jobs. Providing our artisans with a living wage job is prevention," states Cary Heise, DFJ Founder and Director. "Not all of our artisans have stories of trafficking, but we use our platform to bring awareness to the fact that trafficking in North Carolina is a real issue."
You can provide safe and dignified work for survivors of human trafficking, overcomers of substance abuse, those creating safe housing after homelessness and other vulnerable situations with $13.76, one hour of living wage pay, a month.
Help us reach our goal of 1000 monthly donors to continue funding our transitional work experience for our community's most vulnerable women.
By Paige Hachet Jacob
Freelance writer and editor with work featured in North Carolina publications such as Newcomer, Life Health, Southern Bride & Groom, Wake Living, Walter Magazine and more.
Photos by 627 Photography