GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) The U.S. government estimates up to 300,000 children are at risk of sale into sexual slavery. It is the fastest growing arm of crime in the United States. Human sex trafficking sounds like a problem that doesn’t happen in West Michigan, but it does.
The Manasseh Project at Wedgwood Christian Services opened in October 2012. The project is two-fold: educators go into the community and teach about what trafficking is, what it looks like, and how to prevent it. Some of this education is done in schools, teaching children how to change their behaviors so they’re not vulnerable.
The second part of the project is a recovery program for women 12 to 17 years old who have been sexually exploited or trafficked. The residential program offers different kinds of therapy and teaches girls life skills and what they need to change some of the things they’ve been told and taught.
Learn how to identify a possible trafficking victim, help advocate, or donate to the Manasseh Project by visiting the website. For more resources or to report a trafficking victim, call the National Trafficking In Persons Hotline at 888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to 233733.
Women at Risk International is an organization established to create circles of protection around at-risk women and children across the globe. One of the ways it does that is through the WAR Chest Boutique.
Women at Risk International strives to create circles of protection around women and children and give them a safe place to rewrite the story of the life. The organization is in 45 countries with 171 programs addressing 15 risk issues, but focuses on human trafficking. It empowers women, gives them a safe place, and teaches them how to make a living with dignity.
Items in the WAR Chest Boutique are made by women rescued from human trafficking. Proceeds go to support at-risk women, children, and men in more than 40 countries, including the United States.
Human trafficking isn’t just a problem in other parts of the country. West Michigan has 2,400 minors for sale for sexual slavery at any given time. To learn more about Women at Risk International, WAR Chest Boutique, and how you can get involved, visit their websites.
Maranda also got a chance to meet 13 year old Ashley, who is doing her part to help young sex trafficking victims. She came up with the idea after going through an exhibit at ArtPrize. Her family is now bath and body products and making donations to make gift baskets for teens pulled out of sex trafficking.