Human trafficking. Sex slavery. Child exploitation. We know these problems are out there. In recent years, the public has become much better informed about the existence of the child sex trade. But how much do you really know about this urgent human rights issue?
LOVE146 -- an international charity that provides aftercare and rehabilitation for children rescued from sexual slavery -- has collaborated with Nashville-based rock group Band of Love on a new video to increase public awareness on this issue. The video reveals a number of surprising facts about the child sex trade, including the following:
- In some cases, children as young as eight years old are forced to work as prostitutes.
- An enslaved child may be raped between five and ten times per night.
- The transaction may be for as little as $5 each time. However, the first time a child is sold, the price may rise as high as $200.
- When a child is forced into a brothel, her name is typically replaced with a number -- further stripping her of her humanity. LOVE146 -- the charity I mentioned before -- was named in honor of just such a girl. Her designated number was 146.
- Child brothels will sometimes print up a menu for men to look at, complete with pictures and prices -- as if each child were a piece of meat.
- On average, two children are sold every minute.
- By some estimates, as many as 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world. This "hidden" problem is larger than many of us can imagine.
Watch the video and allow yourself to put a human "face" on this unthinkable abuse. Also, allow yourself to be inspired by what some people are doing to bring hope and healing to these beautiful children.
Band of Love is honored to collaborate with LOVE146 to raise awareness about this issue. (Yes, that's me singing in the video.) And this brings me to my final point:
- There is something you can do about this. Yes, I know -- it seems like such an overwhelming problem. Often, we see an evil like child trafficking and it seems just too big for us to make an impact. But you're wrong if you think you can't make a difference. Organizations who work in this area like LOVE146 and the International Justice Mission are run by regular people -- just like you. One child at a time, they are transforming the lives of trafficking victims around the world.
For our part, my band mates and I were deeply touched by this issue. We decided to give away free downloads of our new album, and donate 100 percent of the tips to LOVE146.
There are other charities doing great work in this area. LOVE146 is simply the one we know best and have chosen to work with.
There's something uniquely troubling about adults who violate the innocence of children for profit. If you feel inspired to act on this issue, maybe you'd like to give financially to support a survivor rehabilitation house, or donate some of your time to post, share, Tweet and help raise awareness in others about this issue. I know this -- if you want to do help, checking out LOVE146.org is a good place to start.
There is hope for survivors. Each one of these children deserves to be loved in a safe environment. Each one deserves to be given a second chance at life.
By supporting the work of a group such as LOVE146, anyone reading this can become a modern day abolitionist. We can promote social justice for the most vulnerable among us. We're all horrified by child trafficking. But the good news is, we don't have to stop there. We can do something for these kids.
Nathan Harden is the singer in the Nashville-based indie rock group, Band of Love.