05 October, 2010

2.283 Children Per Minute

Reprinted from the Love146 blog:

Two children are sold every minute. ... UNICEF says that some estimates go as high as to say that 1.2 million children annually are trafficked. ... 1,200,000 children / 525,600 minutes = 2.283 children trafficked per minute

I had never done the math before in my head; I saw the statistic and knew it was bad. But really, think about it. In the time I write this blog a few children will have been sold. They could be sold to be sex slaves, mail order brides, carpet weavers, organ harvesters, domestic servants or anything else.

... Let’s break it down statistically for the United States. According to Estes and Weiner (2002) there are approximately 100,000 children who are exploited sexually for commercial purposes annually in the United States and another up to 300,000 at risk of it. Using the conservative estimate, that means a child in the United States (who can come from any socio-economic background) will be commercially sexually exploited every 5.5 minutes. That is almost 2 in the amount of time it takes you to watch the new Lady Gaga video.

I don’t say all of this to overwhelm you, to bring you down or anything else. I say it because people have to know. When apathy grows, evil wins and I’m tired of watching that happen. Do what I did today, after years and years of seeing it, really look at the statistic, think about what that means and challenge yourself to see what you can do to help stop that.

- Nicole

This is startling to me. And I agree that the stat of one child is exploited every 5.5 minutes in America is low. It is probably more - but most people don't know what exploitation is, or how is can happen so easily, or that is so prevalent - most times by someone the child knows.

And it's only getting worse! The sad reality is that child porn is becoming more and more frequent and that the kids are getting younger. It's easier and a bit more polite to talk about kids overseas being exploited. Even in the media it is often kids being brought to the U.S. from other countries. But, in reality, it is a homegrown problem.

When people would call the last place I worked and ask what they could do about human trafficking, I often told them to start in their community. Start at the women's shelter in town, the organization working with abused kids in your own neighborhood. We find such fulfillment (is that the right word?) in helping people across the ocean that we neglect those right next door.

It is amazing to me how churches will send thousands of dollars to organizations that work overseas and then condemn, ignore or just never speak of what's happening right outside. I have been so heartbroken by the church in this area because if we can't love those close to us, how do we ever expect to truly love the stranger?

Read the whole blog post here.

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© Amanda Lunday