Responding to Silent Cries
Human sex trafficking and prostitution permeate the streets of millions of impoverished cities throughout the world. The bodies of women, men, and young children have been sexualized commodities for centuries. From brothels, abandoned houses, cars, and computer screens, the most sacred and private human body parts are viciously exploited for the gratification of loyal paying customers. It has become one of the most lucrative industries in the world. However, many fail to realize the negative impact that human trafficking and prostitution has on our society.
Many youth have succumbed to life behind prison bars only because they did not understand the true worth of their bodies. They have voluntarily or forcefully labeled themselves with price tags. Nevertheless, we know that children are NOT for sale. Unfortunately, these trafficked and prostituted individuals do not know their value.
Most often poverty is why single mothers, emancipated foster youth, drug addicted women and children become those who fall pray to trafficking. For youth, both male and female it has become the fast path to obtaining necessities such as food, clothing, and other basic living needs. Single mothers are pressured to leave their sleeping children home alone, and turn to the sex trade hoping to return with enough money to buy diapers to last the rest of the week. These victims face the giants of the HIV virus, sexually transmitted diseases/infections, and untimely deaths.
Afterschool hours, young women who possess the potential to sing or lead or educate, too often are strolling the streets of the distinguished boulevard we Oaklanders call “International,” which is also known as the “Track.” It is on this street that nightmares never end for sex workers. It is on this same boulevard that young men who have the capability to be dancers, teachers, or contenders for peace become lookouts for pimps or pimps themselves.
The streets are crying. Missing, exploited, abused women and children are crying. Crying for their families, crying to be rescued, crying for an escape.
Fortunately, WE have heard their cries. The Victory Outreach Church of Oakland is a non- profit organization dedicated to reaching the inner cities with applicable tools to help them overcome problems unique to low-income minority residents. Victory Outreach Church of Oakland has partnered with such agencies as H.E.A.T Watch, Ella Baker Center, and California Against Slavery and more organizations to gather on the steps of One Frank Ogawa Plaza Oakland City Hall, April 6th, 2012 at 5pm to light a candle commemorating individuals who are ensnared by the chains of sex trafficking and prostitution.
This candlelight vigil will bring awareness to the unfortunate circumstances of missing, exploited, and sexually abused children. As community members we must be compelled to change not only our circumstances but also the circumstances of our neighbors. We must be compelled to change the future for upcoming generations. I am compelled. Before my mother succumbed to the AIDS virus, she left her children at home alone to sell her body in exchange for drugs. I could have easily followed in her footsteps. Luckily, I know my worth. Join us in assisting our Oakland youth, women and children realize theirs.
Visit our event page on at www.facebook.com/hear.cry2 for more information.
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