Let Harmlessness Begin and Harmfulness End with Us

Awareness is the first step toward solving any challenging situation. The ongoing sex trafficking of human beings, especially children, is an issue that is, being brought to mass awareness. I AM A FORCE4GOOD was founded specifically to help at risk women and children domestically and internationally.

I am thrilled to report that just in the past few weeks, thanks to an initiative by Shared Hope during the Super Bowl and to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, this topic has been brought to the attention of millions. At the end of January, the House passed a total of 12 bipartisan bills to combat human trafficking worldwide.

According to a report in Time Magazine, “Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) urged action on a bill he and several Senators introduced in January called the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.” The Time article also brought to light the following, “The Department of Homeland Security estimates over 20 million men, women, and children are victims of trafficking. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American children are at risk of becoming child sex trafficking victims every year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.” Additionally, the article reported Cornyn as saying, “Yes, human trafficking is happening right in our own backyard, and more than 80% of sex trafficking victims in America are U.S. citizens,” Cornyn said, noting that big sporting events like the Super Bowl can be hotbeds for sex trafficking.”

The article also reveals that, “Human trafficking is estimated to be a multinational, multibillion-dollar industry and one of the most lucrative international criminal practices.”

Shared Hope International, founded in 1998 by Congresswoman Linda Smith, is an anti-trafficking organization focusing on prevention, restoration and justice for victims of sex trafficking. The organization launched a sex trafficking awareness campaign in Phoenix in order to highlight the issue during the Super Bowl activities.  On their website you’ll find a message from Pope Francis, who recently urged people of all faiths and cultures to unite to put an end to slavery and human trafficking in a speech in the Philippines. He said, “All of us are called [by God] to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture and religion, let us join our forces.”

It’s time for each of us to look within and dedicate ourselves to harmlessness. If we believe any act of violence is a solution, then violence cannot be stopped. We must stop violence in our own hearts and lives. I AM A FORCE4GOOD has programs in place in Cambodia where orphan teenagers develop skills to earn money so when they age out of the orphanage they do not have to rely on selling their bodies in order to survive. Children are the most vulnerable among us and they are the victims of the most heinous crimes. When they lose their innocence as a result of violence, they are then more likely to continue the violence because that is all they know. Let’s give children the protection and love they deserve.

With awareness growing there are more ways than ever to take positive action. I AM A FORCE4GOOD is just one among many. Repeat after me: Harmlessness, like peace, begins with me. I AM A FORCE4GOOD!