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Spotlight on Sex Trafficking by Whitney Bexley

9 Jul

I am so excited and grateful that Lace Cosmetics has asked me to do a guest blog today! I must say, though, that there are few things that go together less than fashion and sex trafficking, but as a compassionate and socially conscious corporation, Lace Cosmetics understands the importance of education and awareness. So they’ve handed me the mic for a few minutes today to share my work with all of you! So, hello, blogosphere, my name is Whitney. I’m a liaison between a church and an anti-sex trafficking non-profit, and I have news.

First the bad news:

Did you know that in and around the city of Atlanta, between 250 and 500 girls, ages 10 to 17, are sold for sex each month? It’s true. An independent study has shown that an average of 7200 men purchase between 250 and 500 girls for sex 8500 times per month in the metro Atlanta area.

This exploitation harms children of all races and socioeconomic classes. Girls are sold on the streets, through escort services, with johns at major hotels and online. More adolescent girls in Georgia are harmed by prostitution each month than are killed in car accidents each year. Terrifying, right? This is the kind of thing you think only happens in roach-infested brothels in Thailand, but here it is in our own back yards.

Now for the good news:

And there is good news! There are dozens of organizations at work in Atlanta right now, attempting to eradicate this epidemic from our communities. Street GRACE,  a local faith-based non-profit, helps individual anti-sex trafficking organizations combine their efforts, making them more effective, and mobilizes churches to create a massive volunteer force to further support their efforts. My job includes liaison work between one of these organizations and the local church that I serve.

Wellspring Living, the organization we have partnered with, provides holistic services for survivors of sex trafficking and childhood abuse, helping them to overcome their pasts and move toward hopeful futures. In Wellspring’s therapeutic homes, girls and women receive counseling, medical attention, life skills, education, and financial skills training before graduating to independent and fruitful living.

The cost of one year of rehabilitation for a single woman far exceeds $35,000. When a woman is admitted to Wellspring, a donation of $5,000 is requested. If that amount exceeds her means, scholarships are available to cover admission costs. This year, we at First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville have made it our goal to cover this scholarship fee for one woman. One way we are doing this is by selling these amazing Wellspring Living t-shirts!

Lace Cosmetics president, Amanda Ford, rocking her Wellspring t-shirt!

Look stylish and fight abuse and trafficking at the same time! T-shirts are $20 and are available by contacting wbexley@fumclv.org.

If you would like to make a donation to contribute to our goal of $5,000, please click the donate link at the bottom of this post!

For more information on sex trafficking, check out these sites:

Street GRACE
A Future, Not a Past
Trafficking FAQ
Polaris Project 

Follow FUMC’s fundraising progress by liking their Facebook page.

~Whitney Bexley

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