How to Stop Child Trafficking Where It Starts
A young woman’s effort to halt the global sex trade.
Back when she was thirteen years old, Elisha Krauss decided she would do some good in the world. So she donated her hair – all 10 inches of it – to a charity that helped kids in need. Eleven years later, she’s doing the same thing, but with an additional cause in mind: stopping the sex trade that afflicts unimaginable numbers of children around the world and in the U.S.
Human trafficking, the kidnapping and selling of girls and women as prostitutes or sex slaves, is the third biggest black-market industry in the world, according to the United Nations. (Number one is arms dealing, followed by drugs.) And the U.N. estimates that about eight million women and girls worldwide are forced into a degrading life that nets the traffickers billions of dollars annually.
The statistics are staggering. But Elisha, 24, a radio producer in New York City, is battling the tide one lock of hair at a time. Through a campaign called 10 for 10K, she’s raising $1,000 for every inch of her hair. When she’s raised $10,000, she’ll give it to the group Stop Child Trafficking Now, cut off her hair and donate it to yet another charity, Locks of Love, the cause she reached out to as a teen. That organization provides hairpieces to impoverished kids who have gone bald because of illness.
So far, Elisha’s made it to $7,600. “People have given not once, but twice,” she says, and the campaign has attracted donors from as far away as Taiwan. (Want to help a Betty? Visit www.elishakrauss.com and follow @elisha on twitter.)
Says Elisha, “I’m very passionate about Stop Child Trafficking Now. There are millions of kids living in hell every single day.” Victims of trafficking are raped, imprisoned in houses and tents and forced to perform dozens of sex acts each day. They don’t have any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and they have no money or anything else that might help them escape.
Unlike the federal government or other anti-trafficking groups, SCTN, founded by Elisha’s pastor, Ron Lewis, and his wife Lynette, doesn’t focus on rescue operations. Instead, it’s working to fund teams of former law-enforcement officers and military veterans to go into communities both in the U.S. and abroad. There, they’ll investigate reports of child trafficking, with the goal of giving police and other agencies enough evidence to arrest the predators who run organized child-sex operations.