The Body Shop supports a different cause affecting women every year. In past years, the organization has collected cell phones for domestic violence shelters and survivors, and supported HIV/Aids Awareness. For 2010, their cause is Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People.
There are at least 1.8 million children exploited in the global sex trade throughout the world, including in the US. What happens in the US? Often these children/ young adults are charged with prostitution and go through the penal system rather than being recognized as victims who are in the situation against their will. Some are from other countries and some are from throughout US. The “businesses” are often set up in one story motels that were abandoned and one person is placed in a room. Clients come and go and the victims are closely watched to prevent escape. Victims usually do not know where they are and are often drugged to further ensure compliance.
The Body Shop is helping by donating profits from any gift bag and Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream to two organizations: ECPAT and Somaly Mam Foundation. ECPAT stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. It has been in existence since 1990 and is composed of 81 members from 75 countries. It provides direct care to children and works directly with governments for advocacy. The Somaly Mam Foundation was founded in 2007, by a survivor of sex trafficking. Somaly Mam was named one of Time’s Top 100 Influential People of 2009. She has rescued and rehabilitated over 5,000 girls in Cambodia.
Currently, The Body Shop is also supporting a petition to amend laws in US regarding prosecution of victims of sex trafficking in order to classify them differently than participants of voluntarily prostitution. Rather than prosecution, they would receive rehabilitation and services to be reunited with their families. Adults (ages eighteen and over) can sign the petition in person at the store.
For more information on sex trafficking, the organizations, and on how to help:
If you have seen something suspicious or are affected by trafficking, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline 1-88-3737-888, operated by Polaris Project. In an emergency- call 911.
For books on topic: available at www.amazon.com
The Road of Lost Innocence, Somaly Mam
Traffik, Norman Jean Roy