Part Six in a Six Part Blog Series on how YOU can ACT in BALTIMORE.
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five
Slavery is a scary word. We are, or should be, afraid to throw it around without thought. But we know this: our nation has an ugly history regarding slavery, and some have suggested remnants of this checkered history remain with us today as we prepare to tackle the deep-seated, multi-layered issues in the City of Baltimore.
As I conclude a six part series on how you can act in Baltimore City, I take a look at the seedy underbelly of all cities, and many rural areas: domestic minor sex trafficking (the commercial sexual exploitation of American children within U.S. borders). I’m horrified to tell you that it is alive and well here in Baltimore.
Get ready for some gut-wrenching facts:
- The average age of entry into prostitution is 13.
- Sex traffickers are not simply previously unknown people to their victims, but are sometimes “friends” or family members.
- Sex traffickers prey upon vulnerable people, especially vulnerable youth (including those who are homeless or are victims of domestic violence).
- The top three sex trafficking “venues” (where the crime begins and sometimes carries on) are as ordinary as commercial sites, internet/online solicitation, and local hotels or motels.
The entire industry can, and does, function as a part of the underground. But it’s there. It’s here. In the City of Baltimore.
Araminta Freedom Initiative is vigorously attacking this close-to-home, incredibly sad and scary issue. Araminta’s mission is:
to see the commercial viability of the human trafficking of minors in the Baltimore region
dismantled and its victims rescued.
Araminta works to awaken, equip and mobilize the Church and the community to end domestic minor sex trafficking in the Baltimore area, through:
- The prevention of the sexual exploitation of minors
- The systemic economic deterrence of the business of human trafficking
- The intervention and rescue of those held against their will, and
- The provision of aftercare initiatives that provide healing and wholeness to victims
Araminta is gutsy–they go into businesses, hotels and motels and other establishments to educate those who want to be forces for change, but also to damage the economic viability of business owners who are profiting from trafficking activity. They also reach out to churches to awaken those who aren’t aware of the reality of minor sex trafficking in their own backyards. Of course, Araminta also facilitates the healing and treatment of survivors of minor sex trafficking.
Baltimore attractions, like professional sports teams and legalized gambling establishments, and its prime location right off the I-95 corridor, means that there are a flurry of people coming in and out of the City for business and pleasure. Sadly, these attractions only make Baltimore more susceptible to minor sex trafficking.
Harriet Tubman said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Many are living underground in Baltimore as sex trafficking victims, and Araminta is coordinating efforts to uncover the hidden victims and to steward collective resources and courage to confront this modern-day horror.
To donate to Araminta, click here.
To volunteer with Araminta, click here.