Article by Elizabeth Chin, California Against Slavery Intern
I founded a Free the Slaves chapter at my high school two years ago after watching a life-changing documentary about human trafficking. These past two years, our chapter has tried to raise money and awareness to help end slavery with our fair trade bracelet and cultural-talent show fundraisers.
This summer, I wanted to change government policy to protect victims of human trafficking in the California and to join the “Targeted Change” mission for Free the Slaves. I was shocked to learn that many victims in the sex industry who are US citizens do not have the same rights or protection as international victims, as the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act only applies to federal cases of human trafficking. Right then, I knew that I needed to make a change in my own state.
Luckily, I found that Proposition 35 – Stop Human Trafficking in California will be on the ballot this November. Prop 35 will increase prison terms for human traffickers and protections for victims. When researching human trafficking in California, I was bombarded with awful facts of human trafficking in my home state: the average age minors enter into the sex trafficking industry is just twelve to fourteen years old, and three of the thirteen high intensity child sex trafficking areas in the United States are cities in California!
After volunteering for several Prop 35 outreach events, I was asked to join the team as an intern, gathering endorsements and support from government officials, organizations, and the community as we gear up for elections in November. I am now proud to say that I am taking a stand against human trafficking in California. I am making the change I want to see in the world.