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Groups wage war on multi-billion sex industry in the U.S. and abroad



by Brittany Smith  April 2, 2012


Newscast Media JACKSONVILLE, Fla.The global sex industry generates over $30 billion a year, which is why Kristin Keen is often on the side of the highway in Jacksonville, Fla. She routinely walks a section called Philips Highway to meet and talk with prostitutes working on the street. These women wonder why she cares, especially in a place where most transactions are strictly business.

But Keen is not discouraged. Instead, her experiences have pushed her to start a business to give these women a different kind of job.

She is the founder of Rethreaded, a nonprofit organization in Jacksonville, with the goal of fighting "business with business." Keen told her story at North Carolina's Davidson College last week during a human trafficking awareness night in partnership with the campus chapter of the International Justice Mission.

According to The Polaris Project, an organization that fights trafficking, the legal definition of sex trafficking in the U.S. is any commercial sex act "induced by force, fraud, or coercion or commercial sex acts in which the individual induced to perform commercial sex has not attained 18 years of age."

The average age of entry for women into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is between 12 to 14 years old. The Polaris Project also estimates that there are 100,000 children in the sex trade in the United States each year.

Rethreaded works with women and children to pull them out of the sex industry. According to its website, most of the women involved in sex trafficking and prostitution come out of jail with felonies and need a safe place to find work and get training, since they have no job skills or education.  

The goal of Rethreaded is to teach women how to make fashionable products like scarves, purses and blankets out of old t-shirts so they can sell them and earn a living.

while the numbers are daunting, human-trafficking awareness and businesses like Rethreaded are growing. Organizations are emerging across the U.S. to fight sex trafficking and prostitution in some of America's largest cities.

Streetlight USA in Phoenix, Ariz., pioneered a safe house for girls who were victims of sex trafficking. They can come and receive a room, faith-based counseling, a mentor mother in a family setting, professional health care, food, clothing, educational and career bases counseling, and healing.     Add Comments>>






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