January 9th, 2008 05:33 EST
Human Trafficking Awareness Day is January 11
This Friday marks the first annual Human Trafficking Awareness day in the United States. A resolution passed by the US Senate on June 22, 2007 has forever marked January 11th as a day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking across the globe.
Shared Hope International (SHI) - a leader in the worldwide effort to eliminate sexual slavery - and founder Congresswoman (1994-1999) Linda Smith has launched assessments in 10 U.S. cities that examine the condition of America's trafficked youth. These assessments analyze the identification and treatment of victims of "domestic minor sex trafficking" (DMST) and will empower communities to take action. SHI will also launch a nationwide awareness campaign -featuring amazing undercover footage and emotional survivor interviews - about the epidemic of American youth being trafficked in cities across the United States.
Not Just a Foreign Problem
Most people imagine "human trafficking" occurs in far away countries with troubled and impoverished governments. In the U.S. many believe that the 17 million people trafficked across our borders who work as slaves in the form of labor and forced sexual services come from these other countries. Through its research and field investigations Shared Hope International reveals that large numbers of American citizens - children at the average age of 12 - are trafficked locally between American cities and across state lines.
Finding a Solution
Victim identification - DMST victims are often called "child prostitutes" or juvenile delinquents and treated like criminals when they should be properly identified and should receive protection and specialized services.
Strong legislation - laws that criminalize traffickers and buyers while protecting victims should result in convictions with appropriate sentences Protection - DMST victims require secured safe homes and specialized services that rescue and restore the children while removing them from the control of the trafficker/pimp.
About Shared Hope International
Shared Hope International (SHI) rescues and restores women and children in crisis. For almost a decade, SHI has worked diligently around the world in partnership with local groups to prevent trafficking and to rescue and restore the victims of sexual slavery.
Reporters who wish to schedule an interview should contact Karrie Delaney at 703-351-8062.