Tonight, I will be going to our first meeting for a trip that I am helping to lead to Panama City, Panama! July 29-August 6, hundreds of us will be helping put on an Anti-Trafficking Conference for upwards of 10,000 girls in the city. Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately $31.6 billion USD each year (UN stat). Trafficking for sexual exploitation alone generates $27.8 billion USD annually. 80% of trafficked victims are women and over 50% are children.
Panama City is one of the gateways to human trafficking in Central America. It is estimated that 1 in 5 container ships that travel through the Panama Cannel carries trafficked girls in it (approximately 30 container ships pass through the canal each day). If the estimation is correct, then a minimum of 6 girls is carried through the canal daily. Incest is prevalent in many homes in Panama City and has become an open door for a culture of human trafficking, especially for sexual exploitation, to thrive in the community. Panamanian girls literally do not want to go home at the end of the day.
Here's the good news though, Panama City officials want to do everything they can to make the city known for being a safe and life-giving place for these girls to grow up. After all, it is being nicknamed "little Dubai" and something like 60-80 new hotels will be opened in the city this year. The last thing they want to be known for is sex-trafficking. So, the government officials have invited Gerritt and Tara Kenyon to host a conference for thousands of young girls in the city this summer. I'm excited to be able to do what I can to help change the course of these girls' lives forever -- to help them know that they are loved, are valuable, and that their lives truly are worth more than simply the fulfillment of the sexual pleasures of those who do not value the life of a little girl as more than that. And get this, city officials are going to foot the bill for the conference! I don't know about you, but I would LOVE for this conference, and the way that Panama's government is responding to this heinous problem, to become an example worldwide for other countries to follow in suit.
If you think this is a problem that happens "there" and not "here," don't be mistaken. If you live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, we are in a HOT SPOT for trafficking. For years, MN has been ranked in the top 10 states in the country for having the highest level of trafficking activity. The UN estimates that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. This is more than there have been at any other time in history. The exploitation of human lives seriously has got to stop!
To find out more about the Panama trip that I am leading or to help support my financial costs for it, visit my Razoo Profile Page.