When I first started learning about human trafficking, one of the books I read was Renting Lacy by Linda Smith. This is a fictional story of four girls forced into the sex trade. Although this is a fictional account, the stories themselves are based on truth. Thousands of children in the United States are sold to satisfy a demand for sex each and every day.
Linda is the founder of Shared Hope International and a primary mover in global and domestic developments to help end sex trafficking.
Linda was a congressional Representative from Washington State when she traveled to Mumbai, India to see one of the worst brothel areas in the world. The despair, hopelessness, and tragic lives of the girls and women there constrained her to form Shared Hope. The organization partners with local groups to provide needed help for victims—safe houses, health care, education, job skills and much more.
According to the website, the War Against Trafficking Alliance (WATA) was founded in 2001, by Linda. The organization helps coordinate many international efforts to fight sex trafficking. In 2003, WATA was a co-sponsored of the World Summit, bringing together leaders from 114 nations under the umbrella of a commitment to protect vulnerable people from the sex trade. Six international summits have followed that have helped pass human trafficking laws in many nations.
Within the US, Linda and Shared Hope International (SHI) have worked with others across the US and conducted research on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) which is the exploitation of America children for sex slavery. Using this research, Linda and SHI have been able to leverage help and legislation from the states and our Congress to protect America’s children. Their website is sharedhope.org/ .
What do you see as needed to stop human trafficking?