It's long overdue that more of us get serious about doing something different with Columbus Day.
At Covenant House, the hemisphere's largest movement of programs and shelter services for homeless and trafficked young people, we see far too many kids who have been forced into prostitution.
I first learned about Nomi Network when I purchased a "Buy her bag, not her body" tote. Trafficking survivors design and manufacture these bags with locally sourced materials such as recycled rice sacks.
If we could do half as good a job of creating a meaningful taboo in the United States around buying and selling young people for sex as we do around smoking, we'd be so much further along the road to eliminating demand.
Such bonds can be harder to break than handcuffs, especially when a young person has been told for years that they aren't worth anything, and they have few skills, no diplomas, and few prospects for supporting themselves outside the sex industry.
As a human rights movement, the anti-trafficking movement must urge for laws, policies, and practices that hold both the trafficker and the buyer accountable for their crimes.
It happens in Boston, Massachusetts. It happens in Kolkata, India. More human beings are currently enslaved than at any time in history.
A U.S. Federal Circuit Court has ruled that customers who arrange for or have sex with children under age 18 are to be considered human traffickers. Wow. That's a big and heavy stick we can use to protect kids who are forced into having sex for someone else's profit.
If we want to fight the sexual exploitation of young people, we absolutely must fight youth homelessness. Kids who don't have a safe place to stay enter a direct pipeline to the pimps and exploiters who recognize their desperation and are waiting to prey on them.
While there are no firm numbers of how much the forced sex and labor trade expands during the week of the Super Bowl, the influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors means more homeless kids may be put at risk. And make no mistake, vulnerable kids are at risk.
When governments fail to tackle the demand side of the commercial sex industry, they not only fail to protect people in prostitution, they also financially benefit through the increased tax income generated from the exploitation of people.
Will nonprofit leadership produce these "critical figures" required to lead a new kind of residential care to address the needs of America's child sex trafficking victim?
Sex trafficking is like an infestation of roaches or ants in your neighbor's home. If they don't take care of it, then it will spread to yours, and ultimately the entire neighborhood will be infested.
Contrary to popular belief, many of America's child sex trafficking victims were never part of our foster care system. Many grew up in such horrific ...
Until we understand these basic premises of acceptable residential care and the challenges presented by America's child sex trafficking victims, residential care for these children may be as damaging or dangerous as life with a pimp/trafficker.
The bill, known as the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, declares that 16- and 17-year-olds who are arrested for prostitution are victims in need of services, not criminals. Right now only youth through age 15 get that protection. Hitting your Sweet 16 birthday shouldn't mean that you no longer need justice.