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Polaris Project - Fighting Human Trafficking
In September of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, in which he declared that “all slaves would be declared free on 1st January, 1863”. Slavery was officially abolished in the year 1865 when Congress enacted the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although, the import of new slaves from Africa had stopped in the year 1808, and many states had previously abolished slavery before the 13th amendment was enacted. If you think this ended slavery in America then you are wrong, slavery still exists and is in fact a booming business.
Yes, you read that right, slavery is still very much alive in the United States. In fact, according to America’s Most Wanted the United States is the leading country for human trafficking and the commercial sex trade industry. America’s Most Wanted (AMW) estimates that “27 million men, women, and children are affected by human trafficking worldwide”… and “100,000 children in America are used in the commercial sex trade industry”.
The Polaris Project “estimates that sex trafficking exist within the broader commercial sex trade, often at much larger rates than most people realize or understand”…or simply can comprehend that this is happening all across our nation. The Polaris Project states, “sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry”.
Human trafficking is happening right here in America, yet many people have simply chosen not to see what is happening right in front of them. Take a good look the next time you are out and about in your community. Do you see the teenagers at local hotels, truck stops, massage parlors, and on the street? Really look at them, because they may be victims of human sex trafficking.
What we as a community must realize is that everyone can help spread the word about places like the Polaris Project which offers a safe harbor for those men, women, and children who are being forced to do the unimaginable. The Polaris Project has been fighting human trafficking and slavery for over 10 years and was founded in 2002, by Derek Ellerman and Katherine Chon. The Polaris Project, according to its website envisions “a world without slavery”.
Even its name, “The Polaris Project” is inspirational and based on the name of the star in the North that helped provide a path to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Currently, the Polaris Project which is located in Washington D.C. actively works to change the laws on both the state and federal levels which help provide protection for human trafficking victims and punishment for those who exploit them. They also educate anyone who is willing to help fight what so many do not even know is happening in every state of our country.
In addition, the Polaris Project helped establish a 24 hour national toll-free hotline which can be accessed from anywhere in the United States which is run by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). Anyone can call the NHTRC hotline 1-888-3737-888 at any time. If you are a victim of human trafficking or the commercial sex slave there is help available. The NHTRC hotline is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Polaris project is a non-profit organization working to educate and change America regarding the subject of human trafficking and needs your help. Anyone can help fight human trafficking in America. To learn how you can help visit the Polaris Project website and help make America a safer place for everyone.
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