January is full of new resolutions, NFL playoffs, awards season, AND Human Trafficking Awareness Month. As a parent, the numbers on child trafficking are frightening: an estimated 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking. Illegal child trafficking is a very lucrative enterprise, generating approximately $32 billion in profits annually. The victims are bought and sold, forced into prostitution, or made to work at grueling, dangerous jobs with little or no pay.
Parents are robbed of their children and the children are robbed of their innocence and childhoods.
This is NOT just an international problem, its happening right here at home too.
While human trafficking cases have been reported in every state in the U.S., occurrences are higher in California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Living in Texas, we’re always vigilant about our children when in public venues, but we also avoid visiting cities that are close to the Mexico border, where kidnapping and trafficking are prevalent.
In their fight to end trafficking, UNICEF’s newest ambassador is American fashion model and actress Angie Harmon. Harmon joins a distinguished roster of popular celebrities who have supported UNICEF causes over the years,including Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn, and newer celebrities like Laurence Fishburne, Selena Gomez, Téa Leoni, Joel Madden, Alyssa Milano, Marcus Samuelsson, and Sarah Jessica Parker, among others.The actress currently stars on TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles as the title character ‘Jane Rizzoli’.
“After learning about the horrifying practice of child trafficking both in the United States and abroad, I knew I had to do something about it. That’s what drew me to UNICEF,” said Harmon. “I believe that ZERO children should be forced into prostitution or made to work, especially at dangerous jobs. I look forward to working with UNICEF to help reach a day when every child has a safe and healthy childhood.”
In her role as ambassador, Harmon is appearing in Public Service Announcements to raise awareness about the issue of child trafficking, and urge Americans to help end it. The 15, 30, and 60 second PSA’s are part of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking project, and will air in January.
So, how can you help end trafficking? Get involved with UNICEF’s End Trafficking project and help increase awareness about child trafficking . You can help by joining the conversation on Twitter @UnicefUSA and @EndTraffick use #EndTrafficking. Also, support the fight on Facebook on UNICEF’s Facebook page.