Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m discussing an organization that is fighting the problem of Human Trafficking. It’s an insidious crime against our teens and I’m sad to say that Michigan is ranked number two in this arena.
The organization I’m talking about is S.O.A.P. Have you heard of it? It’s the acronym for “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution.” S.O.A.P. was founded by author, advocate, and survivor, Theresa Flores. To read Theresa’s full story click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theresa_Flores
Theresa became a victim of Human Trafficking when her family moved to an upper-crust neighborhood in Detroit. This abuse went on for two years. Theresa would be pulled out of class to be sold, but would return home every night. (You don’t want to get me started on the fact that the school officials looked the other way. That’s a whole blog post by itself.) Her family knew nothing of her situation. She kept it a secret because of threats against her family and fear of exposure. That’s how these traffickers work. They use the adolescents’ fears and shame against them, and this makes them extremely successful and very dangerous.
S.O.A.P. reaches out to the victims at their lowest points. This organization travels to cities who are hosting big events like sporting events, auto shows, or art competitions and distributes soap to hotels with an emergency number listed on it. This number puts them into contact with authorities who can come save them from their situation.
This organization also trains hotel staff about Human Trafficking and what the signs are, so they can report any suspicious activity to authorities as well.
Parents also need to educate their children about Human Trafficking and how these criminals manipulate and control their victims. Our teens need to break the code of silence that is imposed on them by the traffickers and allows them control.
If this code of silence is broken the traffickers have no power over their victims, and it will be much more difficult to continue perpetrating these crimes.
One other area that needs examination is the customers of the Human Trafficking Industry. This industry is very lucrative. Where are these customers coming from? Don’t they realize the girl they’re abusing is someone’s daughter? Could be their daughter? I believe we need higher penalties for the men who pay for this. Without customers this industry would dry up.
We’re all accountable when an industry like this flourishes. What can you do in your community to stop Human Trafficking?