In recent years, cases of sex trafficking have increasingly been in the news.  Many cases have been reported around the world including in the UK and the US.  It is an issue that many of us feel powerless to do anything about but young student  Jamie Roberts was so moved by the issue that along with her colleague Rachel Irby, she launched a non-profit called “Unchained”.

Roberts was completing her major at Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation when she first became involved in work at Dignity House – a project that offers help and support to victims of sex trafficking.

Like many of us, Roberts was well aware that sex trafficking occurred but was shocked to find it happened so close to home.

Roberts said:

“Like many people, I thought sex trafficking was something that mostly happened in other parts of the world.”

“I had no idea that Phoenix was near the top of the list nationally and that some 300,000 kids in this country are at risk for being trafficked each year.”

It was during her work with Dignity that Roberts realised that there was a desperate need for services to help young victims of sex trafficking.

Roberts continues:

“In addition to educating young people, we want to reach out to teachers, to those working in law enforcement and social agencies, even in associated areas like the hotel industry, to teach them to recognize sex trafficking and make them aware of the resources available to get victims the full range of treatment they need.”

“Runaway teens are running away from something—from domestic violence, or drug use in the family, or sexual abuse and within 48 hours of being on the streets, a third of runaways are contacted by pimps. Sending a minor back home or to a foster home or arresting or labeling someone as a prostitute or drug addict doesn’t address the complexities that led them to that life. But getting these kids into appropriate therapeutic and healing programs, we can turn their lives around.”

To find out more about the work of Unchained visit:

http://unchainedmovement.org/

 

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