Written by Eden Estabrook
Photography by Nathan Villaume
Did you know that Charlotte is the #1 city in NC and #7 city in the nation for human trafficking activity? Stunned? Hold on. There’s more. A girl is bought and sold every 15 seconds for an average cost of $90. That means, by the time you finished reading that statistic, one girl has been forced into human trafficking. By the time you finish reading this article… well. You do the math.
Human trafficking can sound like a humanitarian heartstring issue, pulling on the fringe of society, and before meeting a victim - a college student who was coerced into what was advertised as a modeling agency career photo shoot - I coldly dismissed sex trafficking as the modern-day term for prostitution. I quickly realized this is real life where people are preyed upon, often drugged and abused.
Vulnerability creates desperation, and loneliness, low self-esteem, lack of familial structure or money trouble presents itself at a bus stop, a facade of a relationship,
Local nonprofit organization Playing for Others (PFO) believes that the two most important questions we can ask in our lifetime are “Who Am I?” and “How will I give of that?”
PFO not only poses these questions for teens and young adults, but also helps to answer them through programs focused on Personal Development, Service, and the Arts. One of PFO's signature programs is their Buddy Program, where teens partner with children with disabilities (“buddies”) to build genuine friendships - but don’t take it from me, take it from Anna Gaeckle.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month and with North Carolina climbing the list of high risk states year after year (and Charlotte being the #1 region in North Carolina where human trafficking is most prevalent), it is an issue that our community cannot afford to ignore. Thankfully, there are local nonprofit organizations who work tirelessly to protect against this issue. In order to help raise awareness this month, SHARE Charlotte’s January Spotlight Series will focus on our nonprofit partners who serve those at risk and/or those who have already been affected and are recovering from the horrors of human trafficking.
SHARE WITH US!
We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!