What if She Were Your Daughter? by Holly McCoy

by Allison Wilbur on February 21, 2011

What if She Were Your Daughter? by Holly McCoy

What If She Were Your Daughter?

Holly McCoy

Riverside, Rhode Island, USA

I became more aware of human trafficking from a television documentary on sex trafficking of girls into the United States from Southeast Asia.  The show left me haunted of images of the faces of the girls and women.  But in 2009 I became aware of sexual trafficking in my own backyard.  I learned that the State of Rhode Island had the distinction of being the only state in the United States that allowed indoor prostitution outside certain counties near Las Vegas.  This made Rhode Island a haven for international sex trafficking activity.  When a representative of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking showed me where some brothels existed in our downtown business section of Providence, I was shocked.  I had walked past some of these buildings numerous times oblivious to the darkness that transpired around me.

Human trafficking generates 32 billion dollars in revenue each year.  162 countries are affected by human trafficking. 800,000 victims are brought across international borders each year with 80% being women or girls. 70% of female victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

How do these women survive? Do they wonder why no one acts on their behalf? I was told the girls get moved from state to state often. I am relieved to say that in 2010 Rhode Island made indoor prostitution illegal, and now provides care for the victims instead of arresting them.  And in 2011, the State of Rhode Island charged two men with sex trafficking and some women were rescued.  A small dent but at least we are now moving in the right direction. All I could think was, what if it were my daughter?

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