Zeitgeist to host Sex Trafficking Awareness Benefit This Friday

Hello everyone! I’m writing today with the hopes that everyone who sees this will respond in a big way.

I’m going to start off with some numbers.

  • 4000 children are sexually exploited in Minnesota every year.
  • 350 Native American girls were victims of sex trafficking over a 4 year period – that only includes those who have spoken up
  • “For every one [sex trafficking victim] that you hear about there’s probably seven to 10 that you don’t.” – Lt. Scott Drewlo, Duluth Police Department
  • 1 in every 3 Native American women will be raped at some point in their lives
  • 14 years old is the average age of most sex trafficking victims in the U.S.
  • Victims are forced to have sex an average of 2000 times a year.

I am involved with an organization called A Beautiful Rescue which aims to end sex trafficking in the area of Duluth, Minnesota. Our immediate concern is providing the necessary services victims need to transition out of “the life.” Currently there is no central location that provides everything a victim of sex trafficking needs to become a survivor of sex trafficking.

The biggest need in this area is shelter. We need a home for these women and children to live in while they are receiving the care, love and support they need to recover and heal from their incarceration in the world of sex trafficking.

This is where you come in. THIS FRIDAY, December 2nd, if you are in or around Duluth I am begging you to come to a semi-formal fund-raising event being held at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe at 222 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802. The cost is $25 paid at the door and you will get to enjoy a specialty drink, appetizers, live musical and spoken word performances by local artists and survivors. There will also be an art sale and silent auction, with proceeds going to A Beautiful Rescue to provide after care services for victims.

For more information, a map, and an invitation you can print out and give to others, visit A Beautiful Rescue’s Events page.

I have seen comments posted from people claiming that this is a victimless crime. Why are we wasting time arresting people for prostitution when everyone involved gets what they want and no one gets hurt? I have an incredibly difficult time keeping my temper in check when I read things like this. I don’t know, maybe we are not doing a good enough job educating the public on why, exactly, this cannot, under any circumstance, be classified as a victimless crime. Maybe we haven’t spent enough time talking about how these women and children are kidnapped, beaten, verbally abused, threatened, drugged, raped, and sometimes even killed so that a sex trafficker can make money.

No one wakes up and says, “I know, I’ll be a prostitute. It will be so awesome!” This is an extremely violent crime and it is happening to 14 year olds. It’s not just once or twice, it’s YEARS, it’s 10 times a day, it’s 2000 times a year and not a single one of them said, “yes, this is what I want for my life.” Not a single one volunteered willingly to be violated and tortured day in, and day out.

That is why we are joining the fight to end it and to provide victims what they need to feel safe, loved and hopeful for a bright future.

Please join us December 2nd at the Zeitgeist.

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Resources:

CBS (WCCO) – Duluth Church Starts Initiative to End Sex Trafficking
Liz Collin reporting, CBS, September 20, 2011

See reporter Liz Collin’s original report on Sex Trafficking on the North Shore from May 5, 2011 (CBS)

Fox News (KQDS) – “Breaking Free” from Sex Trafficking Coached in Duluth
Jacob Kittilstad and photojournalist Adam Jagunich, FOX, September 19, 2011

UPDATE

A Beautiful Rescue has ceased to exist as an active organization and donations are no longer accepted. The money we raised went to local organizations who shared the same vision to see sexual violence and human trafficking end. Even though we’re closed, you can still get some great information at our website, which will be left up for the foreseeable future.

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