I posted a comment on facebook a while ago that was very misunderstood by a handful of people. This is my way of explaining myself a little further, while at the same time, reinforcing my opinion. A few people thought it necessary to attack my character, my family, my friends, and my religion. They derived a meaning that was incorrect, and even took my thoughts personally as if I was writing names and pointing fingers. By victimizing themselves they took my words out of context and refused to see the real meaning. I have to reinstate, that I didn’t wake up one morning thinking, “you know what, I’m going to be really offensive today and make my friends mad.” Please, before you characterize me as ignorant, you need to consider my character first, and if you still feel offended then you really don’t know me.
When the movie “Taken” first came out in 2008, my husband and I went to the theater and watched it. I remember a huge light bulb coming on in my head, my heart, and my soul. I was struck with an awareness of an incredibly sickening issue, which I had not realized was so prevalent. I did some research on the issue, and was astonished with the cold hard facts. I have wanted to do something to help ever since, and each realization gives me another punch of accountability. The world of television, movies, and books has been flooded with similar stories, and the main reason for this, is that we are unknowingly surrounded by Human Trafficking, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Slavery is still alive and well in our contemporary society.
- Governments estimate there are 27 million slaves being held worldwide—more than at any point in human history. (U.S. State Department, March 2012)
- Sexual exploitation makes up 79% of identified forms of human trafficking, including prostitution, forced stripping, massage services, and pornography. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2009)
- 88% of these victims are women and children. (UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2009)
- After drug trafficking, trafficking in humans ties with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today. It is the fastest growing. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011)
- Most sex trafficking is regional or national and is perpetrated by traffickers who are the same nationality as their victims. (United Nations, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2009)
- As many as 2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. (U.S. State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2011)
- At least 15,000 people are trafficking into the United States annually. (U.S. State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2010)
- Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide. (U.S. State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2011)
- Estimates suggest as many as 300,000 children annually are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. (Richard Estes and Neil Weiner for University of Pennsylvania, 2001)
- The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 13- to 14-years-old. (Sara Ann Friedman for ECPAT-USA, “Who Is There to Help Us?,” 2005)
- Nationwide there are fewer than thirty safe homes for victims of sex trafficking to receive treatment and services. This severe shortage regularly causes their inappropriate placement in juvenile detention facilities. (Streetlight Tuscon, 2012) (These statistics were taken from the Nefarious website)
When my daughter was born in 2010, I remember thinking that I would do ANYTHING to protect her. I looked at her sweet, innocent face and saw a piece of heaven. I have undertaken huge responsibility as a mother to protect and love my children, and I believe each child deserves to be equally as loved and cared for. However, we all know this not the case for every child. There are far too many children who are taken for granted, sold, traded, and forgotten. It sickens me to the very core that there are so many who are put into the Human Trafficking world. I’m not one of those people who choose to ignore something is happening just because it makes me uncomfortable. I personally believe it is cowardly to ignore it. The first and foremost principle to solving a problem is awareness, and facing the issue head on. Although I admit there is not much I can do as a mother to two small children, there will be more I can do as time goes by. Right now, I am focusing on helping others to become aware. As Mothers we have a HUGE responsibility to guard and protect our homes and children. Although this is overwhelming to me at times, I also realize that I have a very big impact on the lives of many of the children in my life. Many of you know that I am LDS, and many of the leaders in the LDS church are advocates for children. Recently, a talk was given at a Conference. It was titled, “Protect the Children” by Dallin H. Oaks. You can find it on the LDS.org website if you are interested in reading the whole thing. I will only be including a few paragraphs.
“Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.”
“Worldwide, we are shocked at the millions of children victimized by evil adult crimes and selfishness. In some war-torn countries, children are abducted to serve as soldiers in contending armies. A United Nations report estimates that over two million children are victimized each year through prostitution and pornography.”
“We are speaking of the children of God, and with His powerful help, we can do more to help them. In this plea I address not only Latter-day Saints but also all persons of religious faith and others who have a value system that causes them to subordinate their own needs to those of others, especially to the welfare of children.”
In Mr. Oaks’ talk he not only addresses Human Trafficking, but he also talks about abuse in all forms. One of those abuses is favored by people who are a part of Terrorist Groups. The most targeted group of people, by those who would choose to kill large groups of people, is children. Terrorists are “educated” to go after children first because they know it will make the biggest impact. Many of you have witnessed the violent events targeted at our schools. There are ridiculous amounts of people and arguments surrounding the cause of these horrific proceedings. Some blame them on Guns, some on lack of mental illness treatment, and some on dysfunctional education systems. While all of these are contributing factors, we forget that everything starts in a home at some point. We often hear the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I truly believe that this quote has been misused to excuse parental responsibility. (And here you think, “uh oh, she’s going into murky waters” and I reply, if it makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to read this anymore, and also, I expect the same respect from my friends, that I would show them if they had differing opinions) While it does take a positive influence from our so called “villages” to assist in the good upbringing of a child, it is the PARENT’S responsibility to raise their children. Our “villages” are not the same anymore, I wish I could allow my children the same freedoms that I experienced as a child, but our world is progressively becoming more corrupt.
“Family dynamics include the thinking, traditions, beliefs, and behavior patterns within the home. These play a vital role in the social development of a young child. It is important to question how these dynamics affect and are perceived by the student. For example, an abusive marriage or a particularly hostile divorce can have damaging effects on children. An adolescent who lives in a chaotic and neglectful home environment may develop poor coping and social skills and behavior problems primarily due to exposure to violence and inadequate parenting. Not surprisingly, research has shown that in terms of the child’s long-term social and emotional development, having one nurturing, attentive, and caring parent is better than two in a relationship characterized by discord or abuse.” (FBI.gov, Addressing School Violence)
I believe that if our government would support our families, and their positive dynamics, then we would have less of these evils. If there were more parents willing to place their children first, there would not only be fewer victims, but fewer perpetrators.
“According to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the principles I have taught about teaching in the home apply to both parents, but they are especially crucial to the role of a mother. Fathers most often spend much of their day away from home in their employment. That is one of the many reasons so much of the responsibility for teaching the child in the home falls on mothers. While circumstances do vary and the ideal isn’t always possible, I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation. We see so many challenges today from distracting and destructive influences intended to mislead God’s children. We are seeing many young people who lack the deep spiritual roots necessary to remain standing in faith as storms of unbelief and despair swirl around them. Too many of our Father in Heaven’s children are being overcome by worldly desires. The onslaught of wickedness against our children is at once more subtle and more brazen than it has ever been. Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the home adds another layer of insulation to protect our children from worldly influences.” (L. Tom Perry, “Mothers Teaching Children in the Home”)
“You have nothing in this world more precious than your children. When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out. It will not be the money you have made. It will not be the cars you have owned. It will not be the large house in which you live. The searing question that will cross your mind again and again will be, How well have my children done?”
“If the answer is that they have done very well, then your happiness will be complete. If they have done less than well, then no other satisfaction can compensate for your loss.”
“…There will be tragedies, bleak and hopeless. But in very many cases, if the process begins early and continues there will be success and happiness and love and much of gratitude. Opening your purse and handing a son or daughter money before you rush off to work will not do. It may only lead to more evil practice.” (Gordon B. Hinkley, “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother”)
“Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women.”
“Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.” (Julie B. Beck, “Mothers Who Know”)
In my personal opinion, Mothers traditionally have the greatest influence on their children. If we can be there for them, then I believe we should make every effort to do so. Our children will grow up, and be the primary citizens of their society. If we want them to be influential, positive, and productive, that will all begin in our homes and our families. No mother should feel guilty for wanting to fulfill traditional roles and choosing their children over anything else, and if you are a working mother, I am NOT condemning you! I don’t have the authority or the right to condemn or judge others, but I do have a right to an opinion.
So to sum all these issues up, even a stay at home mother has a HUGE influence on the world. Even though I can’t donate Money or travel to other countries and save children, I know that I might be able to someday. And my children will feel the impact of my presence so that they might one day be positive leaders in their individual domains. The End.