Me: Lying heartsick and Awake at Night knowing there are currently children, even younger than 10 years old, sold into sex, tortured and forced, day after day.
Also Me: Is that Aritzia sweater on sale yet?
Human emotion is a rollercoaster and human nature comes with built-in defense mechanisms and nearsightedness. I lead a privileged life by all measures. Superfluous purchases and little luxuries occupy some of my mind and time. By no means do they trump my other values, priorities or life concerns. They co-exist, which sometimes makes me feel as though I yo-yo between realities. But not everyone has the comfort to switch back into a ‘happy reality’ or ‘normal life.’
It is estimated that upward of 5 million children under the age of 18 are being trafficked worldwide. No fun playdates, no confidence-building sports, no Sunday morning cuddles with mum and dad. According to the Child Rescue Coalition, an organization that uses technology to track child sexual abuse material (CSAM, formerly referred to as ‘Child Pornography’) and their perpetrators, the trafficking ‘industry’ is growing faster than all other crime industries in the world, and continues to climb exponentially.
During Covid times, while we were lamenting the closures of restaurants and businesses (our reality), behind closed doors the lockdowns were sprouting child sexual abuse cases and CSAM like a chia pet. The lockdowns caused an increase in poverty (one risk factor in trafficking), and simultaneously offered predators an increase in community of people online sharing material, as well as a huge increase in vulnerable children in front of their computer screens and video games all day long (Google the name of a child’s video game + predator + arrest). Internet searches can come up with statistical percentages of increases in trafficking over time, per country, or per risk factor, but these already alarming numbers truly cannot capture the reality of the situation, since unless every perpetrator is caught, all children in sexual slavery are still not being accounted for. And, I’ve learned, sometimes the definitions of ‘trafficking’ are blurry–if I child is sold for labour (and not sex), they are sometimes not counted, if a child is abused by a family member, they may not report it…and so the numbers grow.
Before launching Evan Beau, and embarking on my education in human trafficking, I didn’t know that kids were kidnapped, sold, or went missing on a regular basis. I was led to believe this was very rare (it is rarely reported in the mainstream news after all). I didn’t know about the ‘dark web’, or that pedophilia was more common than you could ever imagine. I discovered this was happening all over the world; on Instagram, Tik Tok, in schools, perpetrators in every career field imaginable, and was not really being discussed. It wasn’t part of any parenting course I encountered. It isn’t part of the school curriculum. If the plentitude of child exploitation and trafficking is news to you, you should ask yourself why you are learning about it from your friendly neighbourhood makeup artist, and not from your newspaper or elected officials.
More recently, the media did (lightly) touch on the Ghislaine Maxwell case, a wealthy socialite and close friend of Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, also accused of trafficking and abusing young girls for decades, was found dead in prison while he awaited trial in 2019 (I believe people in the know call it ‘suicided’). It is easy to find several images of Maxwell and Epstein together with some of the biggest names in politics, media/tech, and even the Royal Family, and not just at publicized events. Maxwell has now been found guilty of child sex trafficking. Yet, none of her high society friends and clients, some of whom have been accused by survivors, have been tried or even arrested. How can one of the most prolific offenders found guilty of trafficking, not have any guilty clients she sold to? How can that be? And, how can the ABC news channel and its directors, who squashed an expose on Epstein years before he was arrested, not be held in contempt of the lives destroyed by the omission/silence?
Once aware of how prevalent and widespread child trafficking is, the injustices in our social structures become glaringly obvious. Instead of falling victim to the feeling of helplessness, I ask that you adopt one action this week that supports awareness and battles this crime. It has helped me to collide my two worlds/realities and you could quite literally be saving a life:
Make a donation to some of the best charity organizations making a difference on this front–there are many more but the ones I look to most are Child Rescue Coalition, O.U.R Rescue, and One Body Village Canada (who also receives $1 from every product purchased on our site).
If you have children, begin to talk to them about the possible dangers of online and in-person attempts at exploitation, including gaming and chat apps. Try out an interactive tool like The Trap. Facilitated by an adult, It allows you to go through real ‘chat app’ scenarios that can lead to exploitation and how to be aware in order to avoid devastating outcomes.
Share this blog with a friend to get a conversation going. Discussing the issue of child trafficking with a few friends of mine is what really fuelled my fire to make a difference, to educate myself as much as possible, and start asking the difficult questions, in a safe space with no judgment.
Next time you are yo-yo’ing between your own realities, wondering if that new serum or makeup is on sale, the answer to satisfy your seemingly divergent selves can be a single yes—
Use code BLOGREADER to get 15% off any Evan Beau product or bundles in our collection AND we donate $1 for every item purchased (even the non-Evan Beau products!) to One Body Village Canada who work to rescue, rehabilitate (emotionally, psychologically and physically), and prevent child trafficking in Southeast Asia.