Lessons From Sold No More

Jocelyn Reeder, Editor-In-Cheif

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On November 30th, the organization, Sold No More, presented  Power Over Predators to Sahuaro students and staff to talk about a topic that many students probably have never talked about: Human Sex Trafficking. Lisa Hansen, the Educational Director of Sold No More, began her presentation by stating, “I’m just going to forewarn you, it’s not going to be a fun topic.”

Lisa starting of her presentation stressing that minors are the main targets for sex traffickers because our brains are still developing until we reach about 25-years-old. Predators are masters of disguise and use their position to take advantage of the vulnerable. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and even Fortnite are infested with child predators. Parents might not even be aware that it can be happening in their own homes – for example, in Fortnite, players have the option to spend money on in-game currency, called “V bucks”, which can be used to make in-game purchases. What happens when a kid is playing a free game and wants to buy the battle pass that costs money and his parents say no? Then he gets a message from a “friend” that he met online and has never met before in person. His “friend” tells the boy they will buy the pass for him if he turns on the computer camera and captures a photo. That photo is then sold to pedophiles and someone’s son has just been sex trafficked.

The organization Sold No More is aimed at combating and abolishing sex trafficking. Lisa Hansen spends her time going from school to school, educating the youth about how serious this problem is, and how vulnerable they can be. The internet has opened the door for more child predators, making the industry grow rapidly. Sex trafficking is a billion-dollar industry, you can sell a person continuously, whereas once a gun, drugs, or even a burger is sold, that’s the end.  This is the top illegal industry and manipulation is one of the second tactics a predator uses to lure victims in. Not all predators are men; 35% of pimps/predators are women. In her presentation, Lisa stated, “It is hard to figure out if you are being manipulated.” The manipulator is quietly pulling the strings from the side lines, which leaves people not knowing if they are being manipulated.

There are 2.5 million youth children that are runaways or homeless. This makes them an easy target to be physically abused and be vulnerable to sexual exploitation. In Pima County alone, there are 6 thousand runaways and homeless youths and about 2 thousand of them are trafficked. According to Lisa, “1/3 of girls and 1/8 of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.”

The first question Lisa asked for us to ask ourselves was, “Who is writing your story?” We don’t have our own story yet because other people are writing our story for us through various forms of social media. The only way to stop human trafficking is to stand up and say something. “The number one reason no one says anything is because if I tell, no one is going to believe me,” stated Lisa. The most important thing to do is to “keep going” and “not to give up.”

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