Human trafficking is a huge problem in America, though it is all too easy to assume that the heinous crime only occurs in foreign countries, far away from home. Ending Child Slavery at the Source USA (ECPAT-USA) is dedicated to bringing awareness to the prevalence of this issue and to ending child trafficking once and for all. Specifically, ECPAT-USA is focused on making “a world in which no child is bought, sold, or used for sex.”
Ending sex trafficking is no easy task, and it will take a lot of collaboration and awareness to make it happen. But ECPAT-USA wants to protect every child’s right to grow up free from the threat of sex trafficking and exploitation.
The organization plans to do this in four ways. First, it advocates for federal and state legislation that is designed to prevent the exploitation of children and to ensure that they will not be prosecuted in court for prostitution, but instead for sexual slavery. Second, it promotes corporate responsibility in private companies, especially in the tourism sector, where children are particularly at risk. Third, it educates first responders and citizens about the issue of child slavery so they are able to recognize the situations and victims. This branch of the effort will also allow regular citizens to join the fight in protecting our children. Lastly, ECPAT-USA empowers youth to work toward the end of human trafficking. By providing the necessary knowledge and tools to all people, ECPAT-USA hopes to spread awareness in order to enlist all people in the effort to end child trafficking.
ECPAT-USA was formed two decades ago as a branch of Ending Child Slavery at the Source International (ECPAT-International). It became the first American nonprofit working toward the end of the sexual exploitation of children. The branch began by focusing on sex tourism, ensuring that Americans who traveled abroad to buy sex with minors could be prosecuted in the United States. Since its beginning, ECPAT-USA has expanded its focus to all aspects of child trafficking prevention and education.
ECPAT-USA is aware of the difficulty of attacking an issue as complex as sex trafficking. The criminals who enslave these children utilize sophisticated methods that are constantly changing.
Still, since the organization’s beginnings, it has made huge changes in legislation that have helped many victims. Because of the group’s efforts, the federal government passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which protects any person under the age of 18 who is induced to perform a commercial sex act.
Despite this progress, there is still a lot to be done. Many state courts and police departments treat underage victims as criminals. This could be due to many things, including a lack of training, awareness, and resources. By focusing its efforts on government reform, ECPAT-USA hopes to fix these problems and further protect the victims of child trafficking.
Though ECPAT-USA works primarily with private businesses, you can still get involved in the great work the nonprofit is doing. If you go to ECPAT-USA’s website, you can make a donation, learn more about the problem, or join and campaign. You can also make sure that when you travel, you are doing so with a socially responsible business. There are so many ways to get involved and work towards ending this problem, so let’s get started!
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