ROSH HASHANAH EDITION
SECTION A PAGE 12
Its a big job: The need for more knowledge, more money, more buy-in from social justice advocates, more laws and more enforcement of the laws already on the books.
Open your eyes youll see it. It happens in shopping malls, at highway rest areas, on streets and sidewalks, at truck stops and motels.
The visible interaction usually seems ordinary, innocuous, harmless hence invisible.
The crime occurs in secrecy, says Beatrice Kahn, board director of the National Council of Jewish Women, yet its out in the open hidden in plain view. Its happening right around us. If youre aware, you can see it.
Kahn has made the fight against human trafficking specifically for the purpose of selling sex a mainstay of her lay leadership at NCJW. She traveled to Denver last week to help local NCJW members organize their own activist and educational platform on the issue.
The ironic now you see it, now you dont nature of sex trafficking helps conceal, hence perpetuate, what she considers a dire social problem.
Its really a scourge in every community in the United States, says Kahn, who chairs NCJWs anti-trafficking initiative. Children from every socioeconomic class, every geographic area, are at risk. Its a horrific, horrific crime.
By no means does it limit its victims to children, she adds. Adult women are victimized, too. Sometimes, even men.
Human trafficking for what amounts to coerced prostitution is the very antithesis of a victimless crime.
Most at risk are children and adolescents, many of whom are runaways or throwaway youths, abandoned by their families. Also vulnerable are those who are homeless, recent immigrants, especially the undocumented, and those who are financially destitute.
Such vulnerabilities make them tempting targets for those willing to exploit human beings for profit.
People in that situation are trapped, she says. You have no documentation, no transportation, no money. How are you going to get out?
Kahn doesnt mince words.
The rest of this article is available in the September 19, 2014 IJN Rosh Hashana print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to our online e-Edition.