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Guest Opinion: Bring awareness to male victims of sex trafficking

December 6, 2017
North Fort Myers Neighbor

While most people think of women and girls as the victims of human trafficking, men and boys are also at risk. The U.S. Department of State recently said, "Too often men and boys go unidentified and remain in perilous situations, and when they do escape trafficking situations, there are a lack of programs established to assist male victims. Less than 1% of human trafficking victims are ever identified."

Christy's Cause, is a 501(c) (3) organization I launched in Estero in 2015. We are working to eradicate child sex trafficking through education, public awareness, restoration projects, and justice initiatives. We want to shed a light on this situation and open up a conversation in Southwest Florida in hopes of creating an environment where male victims can reach out for help.

We recently released a new public service announcement with the goal to bring awareness about minor male victims of sex trafficking in Southwest Florida and to direct viewers to The National Human Trafficking Hotline and The Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline to report suspected child sex trafficking.

"John's Story" is based on the experiences of Laurie Sammons, a nationally-known educator, author and speaker, who knew John, a young man who had been sexually abused from age 4-16. John's Story is a 60 second PSA told through the voice of "John" that recounts his harrowing journey through sexual abuse and trafficking. The project also includes a 4 minute behind the scenes interview with Sammons. The PSA and behind the scenes video is available at www.christyscause.com, YouTube and social media networks.

To report information or suspicious activity call The National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text "info" or "help" to 233733. The toll-free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages.

The Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline is available to professionally-mandated reporters, as well as the general public, as an additional avenue to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or exploitation of children or vulnerable adults. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE, TTY 1-800-453-5145, and fax at 1-800-914-0004 or online at myflfamilies.com/service-programs/abuse-hotline/report-online.

View John's story at www.christyscause.com

- Christy Ivie is the founder of Christy's Cause.

 
 

 

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