Editor’s note: the following blog post was written by Shivika Kandhal, an intern at youthSpark. This summer Shivika will be working on research studies with youthSpark, as well as assisting with programs. We are grateful for her service!
Growing up in an affluent suburb of Atlanta, I was often blind to the realities of my environment. Initially, I among others, saw my surroundings as a stereotypical picture perfect town. This was not the truth. I learned about human trafficking in a documentary produced by the END IT movement. I never thought that an issue so widespread and present would be so invisible to today’s youth. The reality of sex trafficking appalled me. Behind the white picket fences and lemonade stands, there is a dark and overwhelming truth that consumes American cities and hundreds of thousands of children in our communities: sex trafficking.
We grew up learning about slavery in America; we learned about the rise of slavery and also the abolition of slavery. What we did not learn, is that slavery still exists today in many forms including sex trafficking. Children as young as eight years old are being trafficked right before our eyes, yet so many adolescents today do not realize the presence of this issue. This is a reality that our youth needs to be aware of. For this reason, I decided to get involved. As a brand new youthSpark intern, I hope to not only spread the word of this detrimental cause, but also practice advocacy and help shine a light on human trafficking. One of my main goals is to bring awareness to my community. I hope to achieve this through fundraising and campaigning at my high school; I hope I can influence my classmates to support anti-trafficking movements and organizations such as youthSpark to give back to their community and help put an end to sex trafficking as a whole.