“ Musings on a November Night”
“ I don’t like the sound of the wind tonight, Mama. It scares me!” my daughter said.
“The shadows on the wall look like people. Can you lay with me?” she said.
As I lay down next to my youngest daughter, this night is also troubling me. Earlier, I went to a P.A.T.H. Coalition meeting. PATH is Western New York faith-based coalition that stands for People Against Trafficking Humans, a very real and disturbingly present phenomenon worldwide, including here in Western New York. When victims are trafficked they are forced to provide labor or commercial sex. They are sold and bought upon an illicit market for profit. Why this makes mention here because it is a problem that impacts all economic and social demographics, with some very startling statistics regarding children and this issue.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’, 100,000 children in the United States were trafficked and sexually exploited in the past year. Yes, 100,000 in 2012 and we were told this is a very conservative number. To me even one person is too many! People should not delude themselves. Slavery still exists and its modern form is human trafficking. Victims are forced to cooperate or they are beaten and tortured mentally, physically, and sexually. They are sold and resold in a vicious, vicious way. People, including children, can be sold across international and state borders. But, they are also being sold and exploited within communities, even our community!
Fortunately, there are coalitions, such as the one I went to tonight, that have been formed in Western New York and across the country. These coalitions are striving to educate the public about this issue, which is often misunderstood if even considered at all. They are also rescuing victims and working with survivors to acclimate them back to normal lives. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers many tips for keeping our children safe. From guidelines on how to talk to our children about these issues and how to effectively communicate about any issue, should an exploitation situation arise, to guidelines about computer safety and general safety in the community, there are many helpful tips for parents about protecting our children from sexual predators.
As I lay with my youngest, I think of the things that are my scary wind and shadows on the wall at night. I think to myself, if only I could hang on to you forever and explain away every wind and shadow. If only….