Human trafficking awareness day is Jan. 11
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution June 22, 2007, to designate Jan. 11 as a day of awareness and vigilance for the victims of human trafficking across the globe. Human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and forced labor, represents the fastest growing criminal industry in the world generating an estimated $32 billion in annual profits.
Most Americans who are aware that slavery exists today assume it is happening outside the U. S. The number of individuals, both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, who find themselves in bondage on U.S. soil is greatly increasing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average entry age into prostitution in the U.S. is 13. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that more than 100,000 American children are prostituted or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation within the U.S. each year.
A local ministry, On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM), has been assisting domestic victims of sex trafficking since 2008. OEWM, a nonprofit organization, is based out of Asheville, but helps victims across the U.S. OEWM operates shelter programs called Hope Houses for victims ages 12 to 17 in Asheville and soon to be Charlotte. In addition to their shelter work, OEWM also operates several other programs. Rahab's Hope is their outbound call center that reaches out to females posing as escorts in online ads in different cities, however, the majority of these females are victims of sex trafficking and many are under-age.
There have been more than 2,000 calls and hundreds of referrals made for services, dozens of rescues, including minors under pimp control. Youth For Abolition is their program for young adults that serves as a method of prevention and awareness. Fields of Hope is their job skills and empowerment program that offers paid educational fellowships to victims over age 16. They go through a curriculum and make handmade products. In addition, they are setting goals, working on their resume, and being mentored in a safe, nurturing environment.
To learn more about this life-changing ministry, visit www.oewm.net .