Human Trafficking.

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So the other day I didn't really have much to do and a friend asked me if I wanted to go see a documentary with her that was showing on campus. I didn't have anything better to do, so I said yes and asked her what the documentary was about. She told me, "human trafficking."

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a feminist. The one thing I actually get 'heated' over is women's rights and wanting not to be greater than a man, but his equal. Of course I've always known about human sex trafficking and been horrified by it, but for me that was happening in other countries. Not here in the United States. Not here in Ohio, a very typical Midwestern state. I didn't know how I could ever help these girls because what could I do? I can't even help myself. But after watching this documentary my eyes were opened wider than I ever expected them to be.

Two and a half hours away from where I go to college is Toldeo. Toldeo, Ohio is the third largest city for sex trafficking. Right here in my home state, thousands of girls much younger than me are being forced into slavery against their will, used and abused, thrown away and treated like absolute trash. They are not sluts or whores and should never be thought of those things because they didn't chose this life (and even if they did, it's most likely they want out of it). I know that as a normal teenage girl my self esteem has had its highs and lows throughout the years and I can't imagine what girls who are trafficked must feel like. It really is unimaginable.

In my five year relationship I was treated like garbage a lot of the time. Called names, having my actions controlled, my thoughts manipulated, my legs having bruises when he would sometimes 'playfully' punch me there. These little things messed me up so emotionally and psychologically. I often feel very worthless because he MADE me feel worthless. What I went to is not even 1/1000 of what these girls have to go through though and it breaks my heart.

So I watched this documentary called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls where they traveled to four different continents to try and better understand the global sex industry. It was shocking to watch how sex slaves are treated- nothing more than mere animals bought and sold and not given any amount of worth. I just cried and cried thinking about that girl half way across the world, who has hopes and dreams just like I do, who is forced to have sex with random men every day, for years. She must feel so worthless, so helpless, so in need of being loved. 

I don't know what I want to do, but I want to help these girls. Whether it be donating, spreading awareness, or maybe doing something larger than I can ever imagine someday. I just feel so connected to this cause and it has touched my heart is such a way I've never felt. 

Here is the trailer of the documentary if you'd like to watch. I highly, highly, highly recommend it. It's also available on DVD, and if you're a college student there's a way to get it to screen at your university. Just please...if you can watch this trailer which would take two minutes of your time I promise you won't regret it.

I know this is a 'fashion blog' and this post is pretty out of place, but I just felt so compelled to write about this. Thank you for reading

With much love, Lauren.
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10 lovely little notes:

claire said...

I think it is absolutely awful how women are objectified and bought by men and it's even worse that men think they have the power to do that! I literally just hate it so much. It's weird to think that we're living in a time where it's the best time to be a woman (rights wise) so far in history, yet we still have /so/ far to go. Women and men really should be equal by now, it's 2013 we deserve equality. x

Michelle said...

Thanks for the film recommendation, I've heard that there are more slaves now than ever in human history though it sometimes seems hard to magne since its all hidden. It's so awesome that you've taken the time to post this despite your blog being more style inclined. Thank you for sharing your story.

Leanna Kay said...

The city I live in now is one of the top places for human trafficing. It's really scary. And even scarier to think of how many of us aren't aware of it.
Thank you for writing this Lauren.

-Leanna

Sammi said...

I've watched several similar documentaries on Netflix about human trafficking. It is absolutely abhorrant and terrifying that this happens in our own country, and what's worse, so many people (including law enforcement, who are supposed to keep us safe) are unable -- or unwilling! -- to help. I admit that I don't know exactly how best to help these women, either. It doesn't help the situation that many women brought from other countries (under false pretenses) who are trafficked are convinced to lie about their unwillingness to work in the sex industry, etc. It makes me so sad and scared. There are also some great books on Amazon/for Kindle about this... there was a free one not too long ago that I read... it was fiction, but was written based on real accounts, and read like a diary. If you do end up finding a reputable place to donate or spread information about that is indeed helping these women, please post it on the blog. I imagine all of your readers feel the same way you do!

Anonymous said...

This issue is one that broke my heart when I was in 8th grade and first heard about it...I want so badly to be able to do something to help a girl out there going through this evil, whatever that may be. For now though, I just pray that God would shine light into the lives of these victims. <3

Beautifully Pure said...

Sex crimes in general get me heated, since I have a friend who was abused by her dad. Every time I start talking about it I just get so mad! America really doesn't do enough to stop this. >.<

Jeannee said...

So much is off-kilter in this world, my dear Lauren ... and I am very, very grateful that u r becoming aware AND sharing about it! Don't ever let anyone put you down ... and don't ever let anyone say that fashionistas are empty-headed, either! The only thing this post needs is a share bar: I for one would put this all over my social media!!!

justicepirate.com said...

I need to still see Nefarious and know so many people who have seen it. I have seen many documentaries and films and read about 35 books on human trafficking, but I think knowing people who work with victims of trafficking has the most impact on my life. One of my best friends was in Cambodia for 6 weeks working with organizations and she had undercover footage of some of the brothels. It was so devastating to see. I also know a couple who works for IJM (International Justice Mission) working with laborer victims mainly, though the woman used to work in NYC with Restore NYC with girls who were forced into sexual exploitation. Also a woman in my church was in India for a full year with victims of trafficking. . some were little girls who were sold by their parents. It was heartbreaking.

Anyway I am glad that so many more people are learning about it and I pray that slavery ends completely! Granted, true justice will come when Christ comes back to restore all things, but to see the suffering everywhere is awful.
+Victoria+

Laura said...

I'm definitely going to have to watch this. I'm a social work major and my best friend who goes to Penn State is a woman's study major - we are both really passionate about women's rights. I want to work with a woman population, especially those affected by domestic violence. Documentaries like this aren't "good," but I really like to watch them because they are so eye-opening and keep reminding me why I want to do what I'm studying! Thanks for the recommendation!

xoxo,
Laura
http://lauraisthriftingthroughlife.blogspot.com/

Dus Katrina said...

I LOVE that you took a stand and talked about this on you blog evne though you think it's out of place. I think it's completely relevant and am so glad you shared. I always wish people would use their internet voices more to speak up for things so huge kuddos to you! and for opening up and sharing about your relationship, wow that sounds really awful. I'm sending the best thoughts your way to feel strong and powerful girl! Even though it's true so many are going through horrid things no one deserves to be made to feel worthless.
http://dusanabotswana.com/

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