5 Ways Your Business Can Engage in the Battle Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children

Posted on May 9, 2010

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“The average age of child sexual exploitation appears to be 14, but girls as young as 10 & 11 have been exploited.” This startling statement comes from “Hidden in Plain View: 2005 Mayor’s Report.”  There is an outcry today over human trafficking and child exploitation. Religious groups, women’s movements, non-profit organizations and various caring groups and individuals are raising awareness and seeking to bring release to these children in bondage. Yet, the missing soldiers in this battle are often the small businesses and corporate America. Many business professionals are not aware of how they can contribute to the safety of these children. Worse, they may unknowingly be contributing to the atrocity.

According to A. Future. Not A Past. it is likely that  200 – 300 girls are sexually exploited in Georgia—not annually—but every month. The stats and facts about these activities are shocking and reveal much more than I care to expose in this blog.

Sadly, this isn’t a problem only in Georgia and Atlanta.  A recent report stated that there are 13 U.S. cities with higher incidents of child prostitution than what is found in Atlanta. This IS a national problem.  The more I learn of these dark facts, the more bewildered I become contemplating why this type of activity takes place in my beloved land of the free.

Once you get past the horrendous facts of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation taking place in America, you are shocked to discover that business practices often contribute to this malady. How does the business community and corporate America contribute to this problem?

Researchers have discovered a striking correlation between adult entertainment and child prostitution.

The exploitation of children may not be as open and obvious to the general public as the triple-X nightclubs, but it is there. Wherever you find a concentration of adult entertainment the abuse of children will be only footsteps away. As adult entertainment grows so does child sexual exploitation. The reverse is also true—a reduction in adult entertainment leads to a reduction in sexual exploitation of children. This then leads us to a sobering question: Who is supporting the adult entertainment business?

Corporate America and small business are part of the support base of the adult entertainment industry. Each time a business writes a reimbursement check for adult entertainment, or pays for a client or prospect to go to one of these establishments, they are contributing to the adult entertainment industry and indirectly supporting an environment that exploits young girls.

Some businesses utilize adult entertainment because they perceive the entertainment to provide value. They assume it will solidify a business relationship or open the door to new sales. The effectiveness of these practices is not debated here. Yet, the question must be asked: Are the perceived benefits of these practices worth the cost being paid by young girls in our communities?

There are many reasons why we join the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. Some are moved by moral reasons. Others are champions of women’s issues. Many are compelled by the love of God and for religious grounds. If none of these motivating factors fit you, however, please be moved for the sake of the children who will be indirectly affected by your dollars going to support adult entertainment.

Once we care, what’s next? Awareness is not enough. Shaking our heads in disbelief is not enough. There is more we can do. There is more that businesses can do. Below are five practical ways for a business or organization to help fight this battle.

5 practical ways a business or organization can help fight the battle against the sexual exploitation of children in our communities.

1.       Implement policies.

This is where HR professionals can play a huge role. Businesses can develop policies that prevent employees from visiting adult entertainment establishments while on the job and prevent reimbursements for adult entertainment expenses.

In light of this understanding, our employee benefit firm recently adopted a policy. A portion of our Entertainment Policy reads:

Employees of BIS Benefits may not entertain guests, employees or clients, or accept meals and entertainment, in establishments with “adult entertainment”, e.g. nude dance clubs or gambling.

I found other similar policies and related articles. To view these go to HR Policies on Entertainment Expenses.

2.       Create awareness of the issue in your organization.

Your organization can host a lunch & learn for employees with a guest speaker from an organization working to free children from sexual exploitation. You can organize an Employee Community Service Day to mobilize a team for volunteer assistance.  Our firm offers our employees 2 days a year for involvement in community outreach. While they may choose to use those days engaged in a cause dear to them, this year we will be presenting them with the opportunity to engage in volunteer services with non-profit organizations working to end human trafficking.

3.       Mobilize other businesses to join you in raising awareness.

Many people, once they become aware of the facts, don’t want to remain silent. You can be a champion by utilizing your contacts to raise awareness. In addition to word-of-mouth, you can also use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media outlets as valid means of raising awareness. By creating a common voice in our communities, we can make a difference in the lives of children in bondage.

4.       Partner with organizations that are making a difference.

In Atlanta there are several organizations taking unique approaches to these issues. These include:

  • A Future. Not A Past. is a statewide (Georgia) coordinated campaign to end the prostitution of children by building a barrier between children and those who seek to harm them through commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Angela’s House is a haven for children of prostituted children.
  • NightLight Atlanta  is a faith-based, grassroots movement that reaches out to commercially sexually exploited women and children (domestic and foreign) through prevention, intervention, restoration, and education.
  • Street GRACE which was formed by a coalition of churches to address the disturbing and devastating reality of what was happening to children. Street Grace serves as a clearing house of information and available services for best practice agencies.
  • Victoria’s Friends helps women who are currently employed in the industry and those who are looking to exit adult entertainment.
  • Wellspring Living exists to create restorative environments for victims of childhood trauma.

If you are outside of Georgia you can search the internet for ministries and organizations fighting the exploitation of children.

5.       Financially support these organizations.

Our financial support to these organizations provides funding for staff and necessary initiatives such as advocacy efforts, awareness campaigns, mobilization of volunteers, outreach, and creation of short films and other effective media.

 

We can make a difference. You can make a difference. The business community can make a difference.

Forward this blog to the decision makers, (HR Manager, President, Owner, VP, COO, Board Members), in your organization. Forward it to friends and ask them to take action in their business or organization. Let’s stop the atrocities.

 

To forward this blog simply copy and paste the following link into an email: http://wp.me/pUUXd-n

To read an earlier blog that shares the birth of my interest in this subject you may use the following link: http://wp.me/pBhtB-Y

You may follow Jack on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jackwbruce

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