Last night I attended the Amirah fundraiser at The Cabot in Beverly. Amirah is a safe house and they are raising funds so that they are able to re-open and provide a healing place for women who have been rescued from human/sex trafficking. Amirah is a non-profit organization located in the Boston area that strives “to provide a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope.”
Sex trafficking is a huge problem all over the world, and even right here in the United States. Yet there is very little awareness.
Did you know…
In Boston, there are 12 special agents dedicated solely to human trafficking, and 12 special agents dedicated solely to child exploitation.
There have been 121 known cases in New England this year alone. This is already double the number from the entire year of 2014.
The women have been as young as 8 years old and as old as 51 years old.
The average age for a woman who has been trafficked is 16-26 years old. They are usually U.S. citizens, and described by the homeland security officer as your typical “girl next door.”
Two teenagers from Danvers were once trafficked right here at the Liberty Tree Mall. A man approached them with a false promise that a modeling agency was in town and would be at his party that weekend and that they would love to meet the girls. The girls went to the party and were drugged, taken far from home, and forced into being the man’s sex slaves.
Many of the women do not even know they are victims. Many of them are young and truly believe this man who is selling them multiple times per day is actually their boyfriend.
There is only one safe house in the New England area, with just 3 beds and 1 couch.
Last year there were 7 consecutive raids of massage parlors in Middlesex county full of trafficked women.
There were recently 26 women rescued in the Hampton/Manchester/Portsmouth areas of New Hampshire who were enslaved.
There are approximately 250 pimps in Boston.
These are just a small number of the facts.
It might feel overwhelming, but there are SO many ways to get involved. Amirah is looking for monthly donors, as well as volunteers to help the women at the home when they re-open. Check out their website for more information if you would like to be a part of the solution.
The new executive director, Stephanie Clark (shown above), gave an incredible speech last night. She said she is done knowing about the problem and staying quiet. She talked about how we all can leave a legacy behind and she said, “Silence WILL NOT be my legacy. What is yours?“
Jasmine Marino also spoke. Jasmine is from MA and is a survivor of human trafficking. Jasmine is just like you and me. But she got put in a horrible situation and she was manipulated and became dependent on this man that she truly believed cared about her. It can happen to any of us. Trust. Me.
I am really hoping to dedicate more of my time to this cause and hopefully become a volunteer with Amirah. If you would like any more information on the organization or to further discuss this issue, I would be happy to talk with you about it. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org