Noel Brewer Yeatts on We Must Take Action on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

A sex trafficking victim waits for customers. | REUTERS/CLARO CORTES

Som had the deck stacked against her from day one.

She was 20 when she got pregnant with her first child and became the caregiver for her sick, elderly mother. “How will I provide for them?” she asked herself, knowing few people would hire an uneducated girl from the slums.

I’ve changed Som’s name for her privacy because the answer to her question was to go to work  in Thailand’s red-light district.

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day … and although Som wasn’t trafficked in the traditional sense, she, like many girls, was enslaved by poverty and the cultural obligation of girls to provide for their families.

In places like Thailand and India, girls are expected to be the breadwinners for their families — a burden that is nearly impossible to carry for those from poor communities who receive little to no education. So many like Som choose to make the ultimate sacrifice: enter the sex industry to pay their families’ expenses.

Som had tried to find work in other places like cleaning, selling goods in the market, and doing office work. But the work was sporadic, and she rarely brought home enough money to feed and clothe her baby as well as pay for her mother’s medical fees.

So, night after night, she went back to the bars. And each morning, she came home exhausted — physically and emotionally — unable to be the attentive mother she wanted to be. But at least, she told herself, her baby wouldn’t starve.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Noel Brewer Yeatts