Did you know that human trafficking is most likely happening in your community? Even if you live in a rural area or a small town, human trafficking exists and is happening near you.
The people of Dodge County, WI were shocked to hear this when 5-Stones first began nearly almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately, human trafficking has been documented in every single county in Wisconsin, which is likely the case in every state in the U.S. I had the privilege of talking with the director of 5 Stones, Tracy, who shared the ways 5-Stones is actively fighting sex trafficking.
How Does Human Trafficking Start?
If human trafficking isn’t just a “big city problem”, then what does it look like in rural communities like Dodge County? Tracy informed me that in rural, American communities, human trafficking typically starts with someone coming alongside an individual and befriending them with the intent to exploit them. This can happen in face-to-face relationships, but the number one way traffickers come into contact with victims is through social media. Traffickers are able to easily befriend kids and earn their name, age, location, and more through social media accounts.
The average age of a human trafficking victim is 13 years old. Tracy explained that parents are children’s first line of defense. In order to protect their children from this very real, very common, and very dangerous threat, parents must be aware of what their children are doing on the internet. 5-Stones offers resources to help parents better protect their children.
Human trafficking is one of the largest criminal enterprises in the U.S. Sadly, that means there must be a huge demand for sex trafficking. As part of their Prevention Stone, 5-Stones focuses on lessening the demand for sex trafficking. Along with protecting children from predators on the internet, 5 Stones encourages parents to protect their children from exposure to pornography. One of the biggest reasons sex trafficking is so prevalent in the United States is because of the pornography industry. Whether being exposed accidentally or intentionally, the average age that a child is first exposed to porn is age 11. This early exposure to the graphic nature of porn conditions viewers to believe what they are watching is normal and good when it is actually the opposite. Tragically, the use of porn directly leads to sex trafficking. Oftentimes, even the women who are recorded in porn are being forced to participate and are being trafficked and abused on camera. Five Stones strongly believes ending porn is critical to ending the demand for sex trafficking.
How Does 5-Stones Fight Human Trafficking?
Taking inspiration from David, who picked up five stones to fight Goliath the Giant, 5-Stones fights human trafficking in five different ways. So what are those 5 stones?
5-Stones brings awareness to the issue of human trafficking through events, booths, communication and interaction, billboards, and many other ways.
5-Stones educates their community on the dangers of human trafficking, what trafficking is and what it looks like, and what the community can watch out for. They do this primarily through speaking events.
As more people become aware of and educated on sex trafficking, prevention naturally begins within each person’s actions.
5-Stones partners with many local organizations and businesses.
5-Stones works together with other organizations to inform the community, as well as help human trafficking survivors.
Tracy shared that she is most passionate about speaking to youth about these issues. Since youth are the most vulnerable to trafficking, they must be educated about what to watch out for in order to better protect themselves. Tracy shared about a time when a student heard her present about trafficking and was approached by a potential trafficker a short time later. Because she learned what to watch out for, she was able to escape the situation before it was too late. Because of the work of 5-Stones, many people have avoided very dangerous, potential trafficking situations.
How to Get Involved
5 Stones recommends the following three ways anyone can help bring an end to human trafficking:
See Something, Say Something
If you see something that doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. There is no harm in bringing attention to a potential trafficking situation, just in case it is. Call your local law enforcement immediately or call the national trafficking hotline.
Bring Awareness to the Issue
Tell your friends and family about the dangers and prevalence of human trafficking.
Encourage Each Other Not to Use Porn
Since pornography is directly tied to the demand for sex trafficking, ending the demand will lead to the end of trafficking.
Simply Earth is so happy to be able to support and feature 5 Stones in the months of May and June! Because of YOU and your purchases, we are able to give 13% of our profits to organizations, like 5 Stones, that end human trafficking.
Contact For Help
If you want more resources on how to protect yourself, your kids, and your community, here you go!