What do you think, how many people are affected by human trafficking?
According to the International Labour Organization, nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking and more than 50% of them are women and girls.
Girls, that means underage. It means, teenagers and children, walking the streets at night in search of clients, or waiting in a stuffy room waiting for their third client that night.
There is a link between sex trafficking and child marriage. One that is often overlooked, but organizations that work with immigrants get more and more aware of the problem.
In most European countries strict laws against child marriage exist. In the US it is different. America has a significantly high number of underage marriages. Only 27 states have laws that have established a minimum age for marriage. Lawmakers don´t take the potential for abuse and exploration account.
An underage marriage, in general, a problem, since the teenagers rarely adult enough to make such a decision, is in some cases not at all about the marriage. Instead, it makes trafficking and selling these girls easier for the perpetrator. They have the legal right to make the decision for the girls, to visit them in hospital and keep them therefore away from possible help. What these girls are facing to turn from victim to survivor is not just gaining their freedom from their trafficker but also getting out of a legal marriage.
Awareness can help to keep little girls from harm. So, if you get a weird feeling about a situation you are witnessing, do not look away, call local authorities and ask for help. One call might change a life.