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We are not property.

Shelia Frederick. Image via The New York Times.

This still happens. It's not a myth. It's not a once-in-a-blue-moon scenario. It's not just something salacious for news ratings. Sex trafficking is real, and every day young kids, specifically women and girls, are sold or traded around the globe as the sexual property of whoever pays for them.

Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. - Equality Now

I'm saddened and enraged. It's one of those problems that feels like there's no way anyone could ever get to the bottom of it. But, mercifully in this instance, Shelia Fredrick trusted her gut and took action.

"Frederick spotted the hallmark signs of trafficking [...] noting that the young girl and the well-dressed older man seemed mismatched. She also said the girl 'looked like she had been through pure hell.'" - Women in the World at NYTimes.com

Educate yourself through some of the following links and further research. Consider donating to a nonprofit, writing your state representative, volunteering clothing or time to rehabilitation services, or promoting a non-profit on social media. The only way to kill darkness, abuse, and degradation is to drag it into the harsh light. Don't be afraid to listen to your instincts and question. Nothing wrong can ever come from questioning.

If you have any recommendations or your own stories of service, please send them to info@smashupmagazine.com. We'll compile a list of resources and post it on the site.