I get these friend requests all the time on Facebook or Instagram. “Hi my name is “Candy” (or Angel, or Ginger,…). Check out my photos and click on my link so we can chat.”
Their profile photos are cropped and framed to show off their best physical features. They’re always laughing, always smiling, but they’re not happy. Not having fun. Their expressions are about as authentic as canned sitcom laughter.
What bothers me most is when I get 4 or 5 within a few days. All with the same invitation. The same text. Only the names change.
And that’s what simultaneously angers me and breaks my heart. These are not naive girls putting themselves out there like this. This shows organization and malicious intent. Someone is coercing and exploiting these girls. I imagine a room full of men laughing, counting money and chomping big cigars. I want to burst into that room like Liam Neeson and start punching people in the throat.
Her name is not Angel and she is certainly not having a good time.
It angers me, because I feel like these girls need us. Not for attention and not for sex. These are sisters and daughters, like my own sisters and daughter. Someone needs to knock down the doors and start punching throats.
It breaks my heart because I don’t know what to do beyond ignoring these posts and reporting them as inappropriate, and thus in my small way decreasing demand for these images by one.
But that’s not enough. I can’t let it go. Can’t forget about it. I am so thankful for the work of people like International Justice Mission and Defend Dignity who are actively working to end Human Trafficking and sex slavery, but even their good work is not enough. We all need to start putting our hand to this plough in some way.
It’s difficult to know where to begin. I am not Liam Neeson and I have never punched anyone in the throat. I don’t even know where the doors are …