Shining a light on slavery

The red X written on hands around the US on Shine a Light on Slavery Day.  (also known as the embarrassing selfie I took last year)

The red X written on hands around the US on Shine a Light on Slavery Day.
(also known as the embarrassing selfie I took last year)

I am really passionate about informing people of issues that affect the lives of those around us. One of these rising issues is sex trafficking.

Most Americans think sex trafficking is something that happens somewhere else to someone else, if they think of it at all; some don’t even know what it is.

Sex trafficking is the forceful act of taking people away from their daily lives and forcing them to engage in sexual acts, be it for money or for pornography, and it is much more common than people think. Many people do not realize that it happens in the U.S..

Americans often have not been informed about this rising social issue. At this moment, 27 million people are victims of sex trafficking, and 200,000 of those 27 million are in the U.S. The industry rakes in $32 billion dollars each year, which is an annual revenue greater than that of Google.

What many people do not realize is that sex trafficking is a problem here in Arkansas. Our state has one of the worst child protection laws in the nation, and most sex trafficking in Arkansas involves children. Russellville is a hub between Fort Smith and Little Rock. If one was to sit at a gas station for a few days, they would see it happen right in front of them.

There are many organizations that are helping raise awareness around the world. Even students on the Arkansas Tech campus are getting involved. Friday is international Shine a Light on Slavery Day.

Last year a resident assistant from Caraway Hall organized a booth at the Hindsman Bell Tower with posters and fact sheets. Many people had no idea about this problem.

The END IT Movement created Shine a Light on Slavery Day. This organization aims to raise awareness of sex trafficking. It’s very well-known, even among celebrities, such as Carrie Underwood, Nate Buzz and the members of the band Hillsong United. The END IT Movement is one of the most widespread anti-sex trafficking organizations.

There are many anti sex-trafficking organizations in Arkansas, including Partners Against Trafficking Humans and Truckers Against Trafficking. There are many ways to get involved.

So why am I bringing awareness to this issue, or even trying to stop it? There’s no way sex slavery will ever be abolished as long as there is greed in the world. More than 27 million is too many to save. But it isn’t about the 27 million — it’s about the one.

It may seem like an overwhelming problem, but it would be wise to remember the words of Edward Everett Hale, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”


About chall29

Photographer from Northwest Arkansas pursuing degrees in Print Journalism and Speech Communication at Arkansas Tech University.
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