70% of people living below the poverty line around the world are women.

40% of all women live on less than $2 per day.

That’s less than my coffee run on Wednesdays.

It’s because of these statistics that women find themselves trapped in a system of sex trafficking and sex slavery.  In some countries, being a prostitute is the only way to put food on the table or buy shoes for their kid.  For these women, there is no choice.  Their lives are stolen and they see no way out.  Many are victims of abduction and kidnapping.  Others enter willingly for a quick dollar and quickly become entrapped in a vicious and deadly cycle.  They are under the literal death grip of a pimp who can make $150,000 per victim annually, and pimps usually “manage” 4-5 victims at a time, and the victims get pennies, if any, money for their “work.”

In the United States alone:

Human trafficking, which is not only women, but also boys and children, generates over $9.5 billion annually.

The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old.

The average victim is forced to have sex, on average, 20-40 times per day.

One in three runaways will turn to prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

The top ten cities in the US for human trafficking: Houston, El Paso, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, Las Vegas, and New York.  All major thoroughfares for travelers, sporting events, or close to a border to easily pass victims from country to country.

If those statistics alone don’t scare you, think about the men and women who are the pimps and controllers of these women.  Think about the men and women who are the purchasers.

Think about your own child being sold by another human being to do despicable acts for money that isn’t theirs.  Think about the drugs, the manipulation, the control, the abuse, and the diseases.

Human trafficking is alive in this country, and around the world.  It’s easily accessed by the internet, a strip club, a truck stop, or an airport.  It’s happening right under our eyes and we don’t see it.  It’s in every city, on every major highway, and in every country on the planet.  It’s fueled by drugs, money, and most importantly, DEMAND.  In some countries, sex trafficking and prostitution is legal, even for minors.  There are even “sex vacations” where you can travel to these locations to give money to pimps to have sex with the victims.

Women in poverty are most at risk to be human trafficking victims.  They lack the education, community and family support, and opportunity to provide more for themselves.  They have a history of sexual abuse in the home or with someone they know.  There is no helping hand or someone telling them they are more.  They’ve been “rescued” once by being arrested, but once they are out of prison, they go right back into prostitution because they have never learned any valuable life skills.

So what can we do about it?

First, we have got to shine a light on it.  Make people aware that it is for real.  Educate people on the signs of trafficking, especially when traveling abroad. – mental and physical abuse, paranoia, drug use, lack of health care and nourishment, third party interruptions, story inconsistencies, etc.

Second, we’ve got to get the legal system involved.  Harsher penalties are needed for those involved in trafficking – pimps and purchasers.  More funding is needed for rescue efforts.  And we need the legal system to recognize that prison time is not rehabilitation for these victims.

Third, and most important, we’ve got to provide real rehabilitation.  These women need counseling, education, and opportunity.  They need a safe house to be transitioned back into normal life.  They need a person to tell them that they are WORTH MORE than their bodies.

Which is why I am proud to partner with Trades of Hope.  We are working daily to empower women out of poverty so that they know there is more to life.

Through the opportunity to make and sell their handmade goods in fair trade practices, these women are able to own their own businesses, provide for their children and household, and give themselves a safe home and education.

Trades of Hope also partners with safe houses to provide the same opportunity to women who have been rescued from sex slavery.  One such safe house makes our Redeemed necklace and New Leaf earrings.  Trades of Hope is giving 10% of it’s net profits this year to safe houses for women brought out of sex trafficking.

Cherished

It is proven that charity doesn’t work.  Charity is temporary and is more of an enabler than a rehabilitator.  What works is opportunity and power.  The ability to take ownership and control of yourself and your business is what will end the cycle of poverty, and in turn, end sex trafficking.  A woman empowered out of poverty will statistically bring four more people with her.  That’s five total people reducing the poverty level and the risk of human trafficking.  What if we did this thousands of times over?

To do your part today, partner with me in Trades of Hope.  Host a party to purchase more goods from our artisan groups.  Purchase through my website, www.mytradesofhope.com/ktparrish, where you can also read more stories about our artisans – I am reimbursing any shipping charges for my customers who place an order today to thank you for helping us work to end sex trafficking.  Or you can join the movement and become a Compassionate Entrepreneur like me to help spread the word.

This is not a sales pitch.  This is the real deal.  I would work for Trades of Hope for free, given the opportunity.  I am not motivated in Trades of Hope because of how much commission I make, or how many people I can sign up below me.  It’s about helping make a difference in a dark and scary world that we as privileged Americans can only read about, and providing opportunity for REAL women around the world.

Change the demand from sex to opportunity.

Hashtag your red X on your hand on instagram or Facebook with #enditmovement AND #tradesofhope to be entered to win a free necklace through Trades of Hope.

Be in it to end it.

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