If you take a look at the jobs section of Craigslist you’ll find a few legit jobs mixed in with a ton of scams. With a practiced eye they are easy to spot and avoid, but I have emailed my fair share and gotten something in return saying that they are on a business trip but if I’ll email back with all of my personal information they will hire me on the spot. Yeah, right.
All the same, there is an urgency when you are in a desperate situation and you need a job. You take risks in hopes that this one will not be a scam and you reply to the ads even though they look too good to be true.
The Exodus Road is an organization that does a lot of undercover investigative work into human trafficking and over the next few months they are letting their bloggers share a very common story of trafficking in hopes that you will see the statistics as real people who have gotten into a terrible situation.
This story is about a teenager named Anna, 15 years old and beautiful.
But she isn’t the carefree 15 year old that might have popped into your head; because Anna lives in St. Petersburg, Russia and she dropped out of school two years ago to work at a bread shop trying to support her family. Her mother has been working as a prostitute for as long as she can remember and between the two of them they keep a roof over their heads and food enough for themselves and three younger children.
One day on the way home from work Anna sees a flyer in a shop window and stops to read it. Her eyes light up and her imagination goes wild because printed on that flyer is an advertisement for a job in the United States as a nanny with a salary of $1000 USD a month. Just thinking of what that much money could do for her family was enough to make her answer the ad, hanging on to the hope that this was their golden ticket out of poverty.
She gets accepted, leaves home and boards a bus, handing over her passport to the driver who is making the flight arrangements for Anna and four other teenagers. But when none of their questions are answered and they aren’t given any food for a long time she starts to get worried. When they pass over the border into China and their driver exchanges their passports for money with a Chinese man who takes over driving the bus, Anna knows that something has gone horribly wrong.
Human trafficking is one of the world’s leading crime industries and it isn’t confined to the third world or impoverished areas. How easily could a trafficker trick a 15 year old girl into going on a trip or meeting him somewhere? What hits me is how a young girl like Anna could just disappear and unless someone advocates for her, searches for her and puts the time and money into rescuing her she could spend the rest of her life as a slave being forced to do unthinkable things. Her future could be completely taken from her.
2013 is the year of doing something for me and I’m figuring out what all I can do for people like Anna. Here are some things that you can do to help! Follow @TheExodusRoad on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find out what they are doing in South East Asia right now to stop trafficking. Consider supporting them and other organizations such as Rescue Her and Traffick911 in the work that they are doing. Or, if you are a tshirt buyer… take a look at these shirts that The Exodus Road just put out–proceeds are going to fund undercover investigations needed to legally raid a brothel in SE Asia.
Whatever else you can do, at the very least become more aware of trafficking and be on the lookout for danger in your area. And pray for the victims that are out there like you would if it was your son or daughter that is missing.