Not in My City by Val Piacentini

JwearIs it possible that Americans are waking up to the bleak reality that human trafficking is rampant within our boarders?It used to be conventional wisdom that the word “trafficking” referred to problems abroad, not here in our perfect little world.

The sad reality is that human trafficking in general, and sex trafficking in particular, are not only a major American problem, but also a Lehigh Valley problem.    I will spare you the details and statistics, and instead refer you to two amazing local organizations at the end of this article that can supply you with more stark realities than you probably want to know, to be honest. What I think is the most pertinent thing is this: young girls (and boys) are being groomed right under our noses for the atrocity that is human trafficking.

My husband and I have been involved in inner city youth/street ministry with Easton since 2008.  We have seen and heard it all.The way I see it is this: ignorance is bliss.There are so many horrible things going on in this world, and if we were aware of it all, we would probably become a bit paranoid and overwhelmed.  But once you are made aware of a situation you are faced with a choice: join the fight in some way, or move on.Moving on is not necessarily wrong, we cannot possibly be involved in every battle out there. We must pick and choose, and I find that more often than not the cause chooses us.

For my husband and me, it was easy to jump in head first to this battle.In the inner city, it is more common than not to find households (notice, I did not use the word “families”) that consist of a biological mother, her children, and her ex-convict, unemployed, drug dealing boyfriend. Sure, that was one harsh sentence, but we cannot change what we do not acknowledge, and beating around the bush is not in me.We know of kids who have been molested with their mother’s knowledge, and some that are doing drugs that they get at home.  I bring up the drug situation because I am going to go down a path that I do not really hear being discussed too much when the topic of marijuana legalization is discussed. Don’t worry, this is not a tangent, this will all be tied up in a neat little package by the end of my rant. Humor me and allow me to take you to a different point of view.

I hear that legalization of weed is great for the states that have done it, heck, it’s creating jobs and the schools are getting all sorts of new funding streams from this………that’s great…..or is it? So the guy that used to have a booming weed business is now losing customers to the legal weed stores. Why would anyone risk buying it illegally when it is legal? So I will assume that most people reading this do not know a lot of drug dealers. Well I do, so I will let you in on a little secret…….these guys are bad news, have not held down prior legitimate jobs, and never got around to finishing up their Harvard educations, they have served time in the big house, and getting a loan approval to open “Weed Emporium” is probably a long shot.

So what do you think these drug dealers will do when they have no more people buying their product?I think it’s a safe bet to say they will find some other way to make quick money, and even though there is a push for big minimum wages going on, I’m thinking there will not be a sudden rush of drug dealers filling out Burger king applications.My money is on some other illegal activity, like selling heroin, or………SELLING PEOPLE. How was that for wrapping it all up?

Things are going to get much much worse before they get better.I will spare you more of what is in my head, and get to the “how you can help” section.Truth for Women is an outstanding organization in Bethlehem that has vowed to fight for trafficking victims on a local level.They have bought a house, and it will open in September.This is the first house anywhere near here specifically for sex trafficking victims.They need money to run this home.These victims have been through unimaginable trauma. Professionals must be hired. Food must be bought, bills must be paid.

Jwear is the name of the ministry my husband and I started in 2009. It is a screen printing company that focuses on teaching the youth of Easton (and people who need another chance) how to run a business.We have teamed up withTruth for Women. We are determined to fund their house.

Now I’m  going to take a risk by NOTwriting about the project we are doing in October, I will just tell you it is called Not in My City, and you can get details and my number at www.jwear.org.This cause will find who it needs to find.

“You can choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know” – Will Wilberforce

For more info on human trafficking, please visit

www.truthforwomencenter.org

www.thevast.org

Check out our promo video on youtube

http://youtu.be/yi7bfo8XU08

or go to youtube and search for “Not in My City promo video”