What thoughts come to your mind during the holidays? Many people would say family, presents, snow, Christmas lights and Christmas trees. The holidays are typically thought of as a time of joy and cheer, a time to relax and be with friends and family. However, some people do not realize that bad things still happen around this time of the year. It happens in our own neighborhood.
Not every person has or gets everything during the holidays. Victims of abuse often spend the holidays alone, isolated and with grief. Some of these victims have no relief from their daily routine, they lack a warm meal, don’t have a warm place and most importantly may not have a supportive family member or person that can hold them tight and tell them “I love you”.
During the holidays, we need to remember those people who include children, teens and adults, who go through abuse and are often sexually abused and or exploited. This is what we call Human Trafficking, but human trafficking is not the only abuse happening during the holidays, there is also Domestic violence, teen dating violence and so on.
Domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation of persons may often increase during this “happy” season. Many factors can contribute to this; this can include alcohol consumption which increases each individual’s perception.
Somewhere near us there is a female, a mother, a father, a male, and a child that are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation- human trafficking. Yeah! It is hard to believe that this is happening in our own back yard, but this is reality! If you know of anyone that is going through a hard time, you might want to offer support by providing them with our 24 hour crisis line.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month! Please keep a look out for different events that will be held throughout the month and if you have any tips or think that there may be some kind of exploitation activity going on near you, please don’t hesitate to call your local law enforcement, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and or Women’s Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres crisis line. Many of these victims cannot speak for themselves and they need our help to be their voice!
Some statistics on Human Trafficking:
– Human trafficking is a $9 billion industry and the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21st century. (CAST- California Against Slavery and Trafficking)
– California is a top destination for traffickers of forced labor or sexual exploitation. (California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force)
– When it comes to child sex trafficking, Sacramento has ranked among the top five cities in the country. (FBI)
– 9 in 10 young girls involved in sex trafficking or child prostitution in the Sacramento area come from a sexual or physically abusive environment, according to the FBI.
Women’s Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres: 1-888-900-4232
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888
Cindy and Genevieve, teen volunteers from Women Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres