"If you know where we are please bomb us... There is no life after this. I'm going to kill myself anyway - others have killed themselves this morning. I've been raped 30 times and it's not even lunchtime. I can't go to the toilet. Please bomb us," he claimed the woman added. - Daily Mail Article
I read stories like this, and my stomach sinks. Sex trafficking is a very sick, real and incredibly hard issue to talk about, but it's one that has been very heavy on my heart lately. Contrary to popular perception, it is happening everywhere, including in our own backyard of Columbus, Ohio. Across the globe, there are approximately 27 million modern day slaves, which is more than ever in the history of the world, source.
The following is a portion of an article titled, "There's No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute." "Across the United States, there are markets for sex with children that are not terribly dissimilar to ones in Cambodia, Thailand, and India. Girls are sold for sex in this country with the same disregard for human dignity as those other nations, and they are often tortured in the same ways when they try to escape.According to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex. The majority of them are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. These are middle school girls who should be focused on history and math class and playing soccer with friends.Instead, they are abducted or lured by traffickers and, once in the commercial sex trade, they are routinely raped, beaten into submission, and sometimes even branded. Yes, they are literally branded like cattle, sometimes on their faces. If they build up the courage to try to run away, the traffickers torture or gang rape them. Often, they do both."
I believe every life has extraordinary value. I refuse to turn my head and retreat to the comforts of my own warm, safe home while personal dignity continually is being stripped of women, men, and children both near and far.
There is hope. I'm very excited about a new partnership between The Olivine Design Studio and the incredible organization behind PUNJAMMIES™. The International Princess Project's goal is to create pathways to freedom for women in India escaping sexual slavery through sustainable work. Sustainable work enables them to learn a new skill, and in turn keeps them from re-entering the vicious cycle of sex-trafficking. PUNJAMMIES™ are vibrant loungewear made by these women.
With this new partnership, a portion of each purchase at The Olivine Design Studio will go directly to these women, their continued work, their children's education, and their overall healing. Plain and simple, these women are makers, and so am I. Though we are worlds apart on a map, we both share God-created life and a passion for making. And what they make, is stunning. I'm inspired to help them continue to make, and be healed after such a traumatic experience. Shop the PUNJAMMIES™ collection and The Olivine, all while helping fight sex trafficking.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. I encourage you to get educated, raise awareness, take action, and pray for the rescue and recovery of these victims. Follow this link to check out more ways to get involved!
*Photography courtesy of The International Princess Project.