Slavery is alive and well in the City of Jacksonville. Take a look at this map.
It shows the areas in town where human trafficking cases have been investigated and out of which came the prosecution of several, one of which was Ian Sean Gordon. He enslaved a 15-year-old girl by keeping her naked in a hotel room and selling her innocence in 15 minute increments for $20 a turn. Who was buying her? Your neighbor? Friend? Father? Brother? Men in Jacksonville were purchasing that child.
There are 27 million slaves in the world today, more than ever before in our history. Now don’t just glaze over that statistic. Stalin recognized “one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” I just said, as you are reading this, 27 million human beings are slaves today. Fifty percent of those are children and Florida ranks third in our country.
Human trafficking is a scrubbed term that means slavery. Each day slavery thrives in hotels/motels, salons, nail salons, malls, restaurants and myriad other places including the beds of our children. This month our City of Jacksonville was the site of the United States launch of ArtWorks for Freedom. I encourage you to go to the site and become more informed about the issue and what you can do to be the change you want to see.
The last event for this month-long campaign is being held at the University of North Florida’s Lazarra Theatre at 6p.m, on Friday February 21, 2014. You have the opportunity to hear from investigative journalist and author of A Crime So Monstrous, E. Benjamin Skinner. Ben is the first person in history to observe the sales of human beings on four continents. In addition, you will also hear from a woman recruited into sex trafficking at her middle school. She is now a survivor who went on to attain not only her LL.M. but also her Ph.D. - Katariina Roseblatt.
So my call to action is simple. Become informed. Spread the word.
Guest Editorial by Crystal Freed. Cover image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Child_Labor_in_United_States_1912a.jpg.