Last Thursday, I attended one of those rare events that change your life, shape your perspective, and urge you to action. Alongside others at Richmond’s Byrd Theater I watched the documentary “Call + Response,” that chronicles modern day slavery. Men, women and children are enslaved for many purposes including sex, pornography, forced labor, and indentured servitude.
At the conclusion of the screening a sex trade survivor shared her story with a small group of us. The courage and conviction of this individual was astounding. It never ceases to amaze me at what humans can survive and humanity can perpetuate.
I was able to speak with Sara Pomeroy, the creator of the Richmond Justice Imitative, at the event’s close. Sara is amazing woman who devotes her time to rescuing and seeking justice for victims of human trafficking in Virginia. This is no small job. Virginia is one of only four states that does not have a comprehensive law in place against human trafficking. Events like the “Call + Response” screening give Sara the opportunity to raise awareness and generate conversation over this increasing domestic problem. She also works in conjunction with local outreach organizations and churches to get her message out.
Currently, there are 27 million slaves worldwide…2 million of which are children! This isn’t purely a third-world country problem. For those of you who live under this assumption, you are sorely mistaken. In the United States alone, between 150,000 and 300,000 children are enslaved and sold for sex. Slavery, unfortunately, is in our very own back yard.
One of the scariest statistics of the sex trade is how much money it generates. Each year, the global sex slavery market generates $32 billion in profits. I am sure it comes as no surprise that the money it generates does not trickle down to the creation of schools, clean water systems, or safe-sex education process. No, the sex slavery instead has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn between $150,000 and $200,000 each year for her pimp.
This problem is real. And this problem is big.
I encourage you to share these statistics and this short clip from the WTVR News with people you know, people you don’t, and people who will listen.
This blog post is but a small contribution to the effort I hope to make in raising awareness on the issue of slavery. Every little thing we do is a part of our collective call to justice. Please join me.