It was strange how surprised I was when I realized that every day I drove down through Guam I was passing stores and shops that were fronts for the human trafficking and prostitution industry. When we looked it up online we found blog posts where people were recommending certain places and calling them “Happy Ending Massage Parlors”. For some reason I had expected a place where women and children are forced to do sexual acts to be more dark, more sinister.
If you drive through South Central PA it probably won’t look like a dark or sinister place to you, and growing up here makes it difficult to comprehend what goes on. But there is trafficking here for sure. Pennsylvania is a hub for travel between all the big cities up and down the East Coast and some of the most common prostitution goes on at the truck stops that you see every day if you travel the highways.
There are so many opportunities to help and I’d like to try to make it easier for you. Many organizations are popping up around our area to help trafficking victims as well as raise awareness. Places like North Star Initiative and Oasis of Hope are running safe houses for trafficking victims right here in PA. Go like their Facebook pages and look for opportunities to get involved! There is an organization called Not in My Backyard that is working out of Lancaster and raises awareness about human trafficking as well.
Larger organizations like The Exodus Road and RescueHer do undercover work to bust trafficking operations and work with victims and safe houses worldwide. The simplest thing to do is to like their pages on Facebook and start seeing what they post about trafficking, when you see something compelling share it on your wall.
Take a minute to Google human trafficking organizations in your area and start following them. Many of them do events like fashion shows and concerts that you can attend or even allow you to volunteer, intern or work with their organization. It isn’t that difficult to get involved!
I would love to hear what organizations you found in your area!