Editor’s note: This editorial received the 2016-17 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence regional award as a finalist in the Online Opinion & Commentary category Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. Her entries “Trump threatens safety of undocumented immigrants“; “Slavery has not ended“; “Do not be a bystander“
According to the worldwide average, a slave will cost about $90. Some things you cannot buy for $90 include a house, car, prom dress, watch, or even a meal at a nice restaurant- but you can definitely afford to own another person.
Right now, there are about 21 million enslaved people in our world. Twenty-one million people who have been taken from their homes, and forced into lives they never asked for.
Taken, threatened, bribed, and abused to become personal slaves. Forced into prostitution, pornography, forced labor, abuse, and even sometimes the removal of organs.
This slavery is not legal anywhere in the world, but it happens almost everywhere. One of the most common forms of this is human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are forced away from their friends and family into a world that they could not imagine.
While any person of any age and gender could be the victim of human trafficking, the most common groups to be targeted include women and children. Even more specifically, vulnerable women and children with little access to solid income, or homeless and runaway children.
When a child enters into the sex trade through human trafficking, they are often between the ages of 12 and 14. These young children are tricked or forced into a situation which they then have low chance of getting out of. They can then be victims for years or even decades at a time, or until they do not survive.
Human trafficking does not just occur in major cities or other countries, it happens right in our backyard. With one of the largest malls in the country in our backyard, many local citizens are also at risk. A very common tactic of traffickers has become to search at malls, and the King of Prussia Mall has gotten a bit of a reputation as a large trafficking location.
Sometimes the victims of this slavery are able to get out. They have the chance of returning to their families, friends and homes. However, they have to find a new normal.
After living through the torture and abuse, it can be very hard for these victims to get back into the “normal” life paths; often they have missed years of schooling, have lost all of what they owned and are scarred by the entire experience.
There is a way to help. Help those victims who are fortunate enough to be saved. While you cannot give them back the years they were taken for or the positive memories they missed out on, you can help them towards a better future.
Though the threat of human trafficking can be found so close by, so can some relief. Less than a half a mile from Cabrini’s campus, the Cabrini Closet is run by Cabrini’s own Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
Located at the Cabrini Cottage, the Closet works to collect trendy and appropriate clothing that can benefit the rescued victims of human trafficking and start them off in a better place. To at least give them more of a start towards their new normal.
If you would like to donate clothing, mail or drop off donations to the Cottage at 1260 Upper Gulph Rd. in Radnor, P.a.