I have an 11-year-old daughter and, as a mother, would risk everything to keep her safe. So today, I shuddered to learn that 180 Degrees, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, just rescued a 10-year-old girl from sex trafficking.
The good news: She’s now safe. The bad news: There are countless more like her. But with the passage of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor law, we are now able to provide shelter, services and a safe haven to help this girl and others like her.
Where I live isn’t India, which has the largest number of people in modern slavery, 14 million, according to the Walk Free Global Slavery Index. It’s Minnesota – largely Scandinavian, the setting of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.
But here, and around the world, girls and boys are falling prey to human traffickers.
The International Labour Organization estimates there are 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide making the forced labor and sex trade one of the greatest human rights violations of our time.
The company I work for, Carlson, has been on the frontline of the war against trafficking for more than 15 years. The lessons we have learned as a global hospitality and travel company and the experiences we have had along the way in our fight to end this scourge inspire me, and can serve as a model for other companies that want to take a stand, use their influence and play an important role in ending this horrific act.
It began in 1999 when Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former chairman and CEO of Carlson, was among the first to speak out on the issue of human trafficking in the hotel and travel industry.
After hearing horror stories about how children were being exploited in hotels, Marilyn joined philanthropic forces with Queen Sylvia of Sweden and the Carlson Family Foundation co-founded the World Childhood Foundation. The mission: To care for the world’s street children and protect them from abuse and exploitation.
Read the full story by Tammy Lee Stanoch on CNN’s Freedom Project Site: Click Here