Powered by Mom’s Interview with Marisol Nichols on the Fight Against Human Trafficking
Marisol Nichols talks about why she got involved to fight against Human Trafficking
I recently had the opportunity to talk to actress Marisol Nichols about her show Riverdale and the humanitarian work that she does. After the interview I came to a few conclusions. 1) Marisol Nichol’s was clearly passionate about working to end human trafficking, 2) we all need to speak up and know and do more about ending human trafficking, 3) we need to realize that human trafficking doesn’t just happen “over there”, it’s happening here at home in the United States and Canada.
Marisol Nichols has been the commissioner and spokesperson for the Citizens on Human Rights and most notably co-founder of the Foundation for a Slavery Free World and spokesperson for Youth for Human Rights International.
As a result I decided to write two articles about Marisol Nichols, one about her role on the CW’s Riverdale which you can read HERE and this one about the fight against human trafficking. I’m hoping that we all become more aware, get more involved and most of all for us all to learn about what to look for to spot human trafficking. Most importantly to help keep our kids no matter what their age and keep them safe from human traffickers and other predators.
Why did you start the Foundation for a Slavery Free World?
I started hearing about the world human and sex trafficking and I was completely horrified. I just couldn’t not do anything about it. I couldn’t sleep to be honest the truth of it. Once you hear the stories, you become scared and so I’m a big believer in, I just need more knowledge so that I can protect my kids, my family. How to spot that is a sign of that. Through all of that just by default I ended up doing work in the field of human trafficking and was meeting more and more organizations and I just finally formed my own to join the fight, join the effort.
While many know human trafficking happens I think that many people don’t think it will happen to them or their children. What would message or messages would you like to get across to those people or anyone in general to either get them more involved in stopping human trafficking, being more aware, educating their family or all of the above?
It’s really unfortunate that people think that it happens over there. Several things I’d like to get across like when you hear the term child prostitute. That’s not a prostitute, they are a victim of trafficking. No child is doing that by their own will, by law they can’t consent to sex, period, they are being coerced, violently exploited to do this.
So one of the messages I want to get across is to change the way our culture thinks about this and then 2) there would be no such thing as trafficking it if weren’t for the buyers. People need to focus more on hey, who is going out there and doing this, paying for this. That is where I’d like to see law enforcement focus more on. Too often a kid who is forced into human trafficking is arrested and put in jail and the buyer who is paying to have sex with the kid is let off for free! That’s a child rapist, period. Whether he’s paying for it or not he’s paying to rape a kid. They know the age of the kids, there’s no I thought she was 18, no way, no how.
We need to enact better laws to hold them accountable for what they are doing because it’s not okay. So we could start there. Honestly I could go on and on.
What other changes would you like to see happen that you think could have an impact on informing and educating people about human trafficking?
Traffickers are very clever, they’re very patient about how they target victims. It’s so prevalent that they don’t need to bring in girls from other countries, they just use our girls right in our country Canada, the United States, it doesn’t matter. 83% of sex victims who were rescued in the United States were United States citizens. They use social media. The amount of stories I could tell you about men putting fake Facebook profiles, pretending to be a 15 year old boy. Chatting with girls on social media for three months or more before they took her. They have patience, and they have smarts and they know how to target these vulnerable kids. So parents have to be aware and kids have to be aware that person they are chatting with it doesn’t matter what their picture looks like. There’s nothing by law that requires them to prove who they are on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It could be anyone.
Education needs to start with the parents and kids. Every kid, especially a girl needs to be aware that they are a target. You are a teenage girl, this is what they are after. They need to be smart about it and no meeting online friends ever, there’s so much access to our lives online that anyone can find out about us. They can and they do look it up online.
When they are old enough to go into bars, being slipped drugs, always be with someone, one of the best protections you can have. Be aware of your surroundings.
Any other message you want to get across about human trafficking?
I’ve had young women tell me stories about being in a club and having someone slip something in their drinks (without them knowing) and all of a sudden they can’t focus. In a club setting where the music is loud and it’s a little crazy you just always have to be with someone. Whether it’s a best friend or whatever but that partner just always have to be with you at all times. It’s just one of the best protections you can have. Just beware of your surroundings. Obviously we want to live our lives but just be smart, that’s all. It’s a different world now, those caught up in the sex trade is in the millions, it’s scary, that’s a lot.
To learn more on what to look for or how to get involved in the fight against human trafficking visit the Foundation for a Slavery Free World‘s site.