End Slavery Tennessee is a unique operation in that our main goal, that is our greatest hope for all the work we do, is that one day it will end and be no more. Why would we ever hope this? Because we want everyone else to be so impacted by the work we are doing now that they themselves will take action. If a day comes when End Slavery Tennessee is no longer needed, that will be a day for rejoicing and ultimate jubilee. However, looking at this world, and even our own country or state of Tennessee for that matter, we see that we are a bit far off from this goal. But, we are not without hope.
We need people in their everyday lives, everyday jobs, everyday actions to fight human and sex trafficking and help bring awareness to those around them. And what’s worth noting is that this is not difficult. We are not asking you to drastically change the way you live, but we are asking you to attempt to make a drastic change to the way others do.
To the men, we recently just hosted a men’s training event here at our office in order to provide a better understanding of both sex trafficking in general but also to teach how you can help prevent the next generation of pimps and johns. We are asking you to be real men. Not just tough guys who walk around looking all macho, but strong and principled men who treat women and girls appropriately and who can be a role model for the young men around them. We need men to stand up against the purchasing of women and young girls for sexual exploitation.
To the women, we need you just the same to be an example and even more so a voice for the voiceless. So often, girls who are trafficked are lured in by “boyfriends” and with promises of being loved and made beautiful and desirable. We need women to be a model for young girls; to give them confidence and self-esteem so that they will not so easily fall for the traps of traffickers. We need women to raise awareness and talk to the young women around them to warn them and educate them on these dangers so often overlooked and disregarded.
Finally to the youth, you have more power in this than you may think. Young men, your generation can be the one to say, “No, I will not sexually exploit young girls who are forced into sex trafficking.” Young ladies, you can be educated about this issue and be able to identify potential pimps and traffickers as well as potential victims. Here at ESTN we have seen the impact you youth have; so much power an influence, and once you realize that you can truly change the lives for victims of human and sex trafficking.
There is a little more though. Churches and church groups, you are also responsible in taking care of those who do fall prey do traffickers. There can no longer be a turning of the head away from the issue once it has been recognized. And furthermore, as a society we must stop the approval of such acts as sex trafficking. Each time we as a society choose to either look away, cast if off as none of our concern, or joke about the facts of the issue we allow the exploitation to continue and the misuse and mistreatment of girls and women to continue at the hands of evil men.
We all have our jobs to do, but like I said our greatest hope is to one day run ourselves out of one.