Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

Somebody’s Daughter

On Friday I joined some co-members of Hope4Justice who were driving down to Redmond for a training on human trafficking awareness.  AWARE has created two programs that can be taken into public junior and senior high schools to teach students about the dangers of being forced into domestic minor sex trafficking and even how pornography plays into the trafficking trade.

Simply put, it was one of the most emotionally draining and mentally exhausting weekends I’ve had aside from serving in a humanitarian capacity on my missions trips.  We heard from a mother’s who young daughter was coerced into prostitution and is still missing, we heard the experiences of two women who have survived the horrors of being trafficked.  There were video interviews of other girls and boys who are still recovering from the psychological wounds they’ve received at the hands of pimps and buyers.  I learned that the dancers at strip clubs (something our society tries to pass off as harmless) are often underage girls, as young as 13 years old.  There were interviews with law enforcement from around Washington state (specifically Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland) who are fighting to protect children from those who would use them.

I walked away with a broken heart and a lot of facts rattling around in my head which I’m sure will be spewing forth through the coming months as we continue this fight against trafficking.  Here’s a little bit to start with:

  • 1 of 5 pornographic images is of a child
  • 58% of pornographic website originate within the U.S.
  • The average age for a child’s first exposure to hardcore pornography is 11 years old
  • Child porn profits are estimated to be $3 billion in the U.S.
  • Porn profits worldwide are estimated at around $57 billion
  • The average age of trafficked victims is 13 years old
  • A prostitute can have up to 30 clients per night, earning upwards of $2000 and ALL the profits go to the pimp.

It’s more than numbers and facts, it’s the faces of these victims.  Hope4Justice hopes to bring AWARE’s program to schools in the Bellingham area so students can be warned that they are the targets, no matter their home status, their situation in life, their age, their gender – they are all at risk.

But the other side of the problem is the demand.  Kids will continue to be forced into pornography so long as there are people to purchase it.  Kids will continue to be forced into prostitution so long as there are people who pay to use their bodies.  And kids will continue to be forced to strip so long as there are people going to strip clubs to watch them.  And when it comes to educating anyone about this, it’s about making it real.  What if that girl was your daughter?  Your sister?  Your wife?  Your cousin?  The girls that are trafficked – they are all somebody’s daughter.  It’s personal now.

Now mind you, a lot of people looking at porn/hiring prostitutes/ going to strip clubs aren’t looking to engage in an act of pedophilia.  These kids are made up, dressed up, hair dyed, and dolled up to look like adults.  Those things that “don’t hurt anyone”, because they involve consenting adults – they don’t exist.  Even IF they truly are two adults, I’d be willing to bet that prostitute was forced into that way of life as a child and sees no way out at this point.

This might sound more like a rant and actually I’m shaking with anger as I write this.  Anger that people prey on the weak, the innocent, and the hurting.  Anger that it has gone on for so long.  There are few places for victims of trafficking to go right now.  Few, if any, safe houses and havens exist and that’s disheartening, but that’s being worked on.  The fight isn’t over and yes, it’s overwhelming but we can’t stop now.  Once you know the truth, it’s hard to turn away and ignore it.  I have to cling to hope, we all do.  Now is the time to turn this around.  Now is the time to step up and be a voice for the downtrodden.  Now is the time to stand in the gap for the defenseless.  Now is the time to rescue them, teach them, and help them rebuild broken lives.

If you want to help, ask me how.  Hope4Justice is connected to other organizations all over the nation that are seeking to end human trafficking in the U.S. and around the world.  They need us.

 

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7 comments on “Somebody’s Daughter

  1. storiesbywilliams
    October 1, 2012

    Good for you, fight the evil bastards wherever they are and do their ugly thing!

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      Will keep working away at it! 🙂

  2. whatimeant2say
    October 1, 2012

    I just realized how much you are like your brothers. They may be officially in the military, but you are a soldier hero, too!

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      You made my day when I saw this. Thank you. It’s frustrating, sometimes I feel like non-rebel WITH a cause, if that makes any sense. It’s hard to know how to take action if when you know why you’re fighting injustice. It’s a lot of walking around in the dark, slow steps and seeing what works. So thank you, I’m encouraged to keep fighting. 🙂

  3. captainariel
    October 1, 2012

    i wanna help!

  4. ethelthedean
    October 1, 2012

    You are such an amazing you woman, and your fight is inspirational and contagious. Living in Vancouver, our downtown Eastside is home to a large population of homeless people, drug addicts, and prostitutes, and yet we are consistently touted as the most livable/beautiful city in the world. Nevermind an entire population that has fallen through the cracks that no one gives two shakes about. We actually had a serial killer murdering prostitutes (upward of fifty women) from this area for YEARS and law enforcement didn’t do anything because, well, “no one cares about a hooker.” (Words from actual law enforcement on the case.) The work undertaken by organizations like this one is so important because if we do not end the social stigma against sex trade workers, it will be very hard to end the horrific, despicable cycle of abuse, trafficking, and enslavement. Until we see these people AS people, it will never end.

    Big hugs to you my friend. You are making a difference.
    xx

    • Audrey
      October 4, 2012

      It really does come down to a lack of education on the whole thing. Police have been treating the prostitutes like criminals instead of victims. This new perspective is just now starting to gain a hold for law enforcement here in Washington. Seattle and Portland (both considered beautiful cities) are now being known as havens for illicit sex trade, mostly because it’s finally being uncovered and dealt with. The ugly is only going to show when you expose it. I’m really hoping that Vancouver comes around to that place too, because I know the areas that you’re talking about and there’s so much to be done. Thanks for throwing in with me on this. You’re spot on and I’m encouraged to be standing up with you against this!

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