When I was a junior in high school, I joined an organization called Council for Unity. Each year the organization focused on an issue happening around the world to raise awareness to the whole student body in a mandatory forum. Everyone apart of this organization had a role, but the most important thing we did collectively was research the annual issue.
The year I joined, the issue was Human Trafficking. All of my life I never knew such a heinous operation was occurring in the world. We are taught to believe that slavery was abolished in 1863 but it still occurs and millions of men, women, and children are victims of this crime. Human trafficking is a billion-dollar black market industry and despite efforts to contain this problem, it’s growing rapidly.
As a result of my research while in Council for Unity, I was shocked, afraid and empowered all at the same time. I wanted to know everything I could about this issue. I became dedicated to researching and raising awareness about human trafficking. All I could think of was those poor children in Thailand forced to have sex with men, three times their age or the women who put their trust in someone that tells them they can make their dreams of becoming a model come true, only to be tricked into prostitution. Can you imagine being kidnapped, stripped of your passport and identity, beaten, and raped repeatedly, only to feel like there is no way out? To be honest, after learning about human trafficking I was never the same; a part of my innocence was taken away from me after researching these vile things but can you imagine the pain and trauma of these victims? Continue reading “Living in Purpose: Human Trafficking, Tiffany Wright and my first Docu.”
Oh, the pressure! Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s them, but the pressure exists. The older I get the more I realize I have to try and wean out that pressure in my life. Some people are not meant to be placed in a box and I am one of those people. I feel anxiety when people tell me I can’t fulfill my dreams because it’s not lucrative or won’t make me a million dollars. I also feel that same feeling of not being able to breathe when someone tells me what I should be doing as opposed to what I am currently doing.
I am a creative. I am at my happiest place when I am doing what I love. I am not where I want to be yet, but I believe every single thing I am doing with my life is what I always wanted to do. I have a board in my room and it lists my strengths. Under strengths, it says Human Rights/Human Trafficking/Women Issues, Writing/Blogging/Websites, and Fashion Styling. Yes, fashion styling was something I always wanted to do on the side as a hobby but I never ventured into it for some reason. On the other side of the board, it has travel and a list of places I would love to visit for the year and then finally there’s a list of my ultimate dreams and goals in life. I use this as a source of inspiration. When the year started I told myself I wanted to be bold and consistent. When I look back on the first half of 2015, I’ve definitely been bolder and I’ve tried to be consistent. I manage my Reserved website and blog on both my travel and lifestyle blog. This summer I will release a documentary that I’ve worked on for the past year dealing with human trafficking/prostitution. I’ve also shared some of my projects on social media which is huge and something I still struggle being comfortable with.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is only the beginning and will get better from here. Maya’s video gave me hope. She talks about her come up and how God has blessed her life in so many ways. I am happy she created this video because it serves as a major source of inspiration for my journey as well.
Education is a luxury that many of us in the States take for granted. Yet, there are men, women, and children all over the world losing their lives and being kidnapped for this very thing. This week I learned that 276 young Nigerian girls were forcefully kidnapped from their boarding schools in the middle of the night and completely vanished without a trace.
Their fate? They would be sold as the wives of militant men (which is a nicer way of saying they’ll become sexual slaves) for as little as $12. The men who kidnapped them are a part of an extremist Muslim group called Boko Haram which can be translated to mean “Western education is a sin.” These girls had hopes and dreams of becoming teachers, doctors, and lawyers and now their fate is unknown. Far too many women on an international scale are denied the right to an education based on their gender. The harsh crimes that they must endure are becoming more prevalent in the news including the gunshot wound that almost took the life of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the acid that was thrown in the faces of young schoolgirls in Afghanistan.
The Nigerian government is doing very little to find these young women and bring them home, which leaves it up to us to raise awareness about the cause and do something about it.
Despite the lack of news coverage on this issue, I am amazed by the power of social media which is actually where I first learned about this violation. Through the extensive use of photos, hashtags, and protests the issue is gradually coming to the forefront and receiving the national attention we all know it deserves. With the notoriety it’s receiving on social platforms we all should hope that the United Nations and our very own US government will begin to take extreme action. Sometimes, proximity plays a huge role in how we address issues, especially when something is going on far away from us. A lot of people develop the Out of Sight, Out of Mind mentality and we forget about our brothers and sisters abroad who need us to stand up for them.
#BringBackOurGirls is evolving into a life-changing movement that addresses issues that have been ignored for too long. Young women throughout the world want to be able to go to school and become professionals in their community yet they are faced with adversity including abuse and neglect by family and friends. Simultaneously young women are being kidnapped and trafficked into sexual slavery each day.
I believe it’s my duty to bring this issue to the forefront and raise awareness. Let’s start the conversation and #BringBackOurGirls.