This past week/weekend I had the immense privilege of helping/attending a wonderful fundraiser event for a non-profit organization called, "iSanctuary". This organization was dreamed up, and started by a young girl named Stephanie, who now lives full-time in India. Stephanie has started a jewelry making business, and she employs women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. The jewelry is fabulous, the women are paid great wages for the work that they do. The fundraising event was specifically held because they are trying to raise money to start an Orange County office. Some may think that is silly, as sex trafficking does not happen in the United States, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Sex trafficking is rampant not only throughout the world, but all through the United States as well. It's hard to know exact number, but the estimates for trafficked children in the US is somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000. Most women and children who are trafficked, have been promised a better life in the States through working at restaurants or clothing stores, and realize that they are in trouble when it is too late.
Have you ever read through a newspaper, or an "OC Weekly" and skimmed through the ads in the back? The ads where is shows a young Asian girl offering massages? Those places are sex trafficking places. The women who work in those parlors are there against their own will, and have no way of escaping. It is so disgusting to me that we even have this problem, as men take up these offers of sexual interaction.
Right here in our own backyards this is happening.
So I am asking you to pray. There are many different Orange County organizations that are trying to (1) Fight against trafficking, and (2) Place the women into rehabilitation programs. The problem is - they are not working together. The one thing that really struck me in my homelessness class last quarter, was that people working in the areas of homelessness were not receiving enough money until they were working together to write their grant requests, etc. The same kind of comradery needs to happen within the sex trafficking in Orange County, and Southern California on a whole. And most importantly, awareness needs to continue to be raised, as we fight this local battle.