At Villanova University, final exams are coming to a close and students are traveling home to enjoy the holiday season and the end of the decade with their families. As I spend time with my family, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the past semester. It has been my honor to assist the CSE Institute in their effort to combat commercial sexual exploitation.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation is a worldwide multi-billion-dollar industry that victimizes millions of people every year as men, women and children around the globe are forced into the sex trade. A victim of sex trafficking is a person who has been forced, deceived, or coerced into being sold for sex. Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking can include prostitution, pornography, strip clubs and other venues. According to the International Labor Organization, $99 billion is said to be generated annually from sex trafficking as there is an estimated 4.5 million victims of commercial sexual exploitation globally. The goal of the CSE Institute is to address commercial sexual exploitation by continuing to engage with local and national survivors to ensure their experiences inform the development of policies and best practices to combat commercial sexual exploitation. The CSE Institute seeks to provide technical assistance to courts, as well as public and private attorneys representing the interests of victims of CSE Institute in the criminal and civil justice systems.
Personally, I decided to be an intern for the CSE Institute because they give a voice and a platform to speak from to those who are silenced and demands the implementation of effective legislative and policy reform. I was inspired by the values of the CSE Institute to help them in their mission of sparking legislative reforms that can help survivors and combat commercial sexual exploitation.
During the semester, it is easy to become consumed with daily life as college students strive to balance their academic and social lives which may include formals, basketball games and Greek-life events. Many become blinded by these daily occurrences and are caught up in the “Villanova bubble” that does not escape the confines of the Mainline. While we are all guilty of allowing the hustle and bustle of life to consume the majority of our days, it is important to focus on the overall need of our surrounding communities. There is a plethora of organizations such as the CSE Institute that are focused on making an impact and helping those who are in need. The Salvation Army New Day to Stop Trafficking Drop-in Center provides a safe, trauma-informed, welcoming and non-judgmental space for women suffering from sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. As Pennsylvania is considered a “pass-through” state for trafficking, the Drop-In Center is always accepting donations which helps them in their fight to combat human trafficking.
The 2010’s are coming to an end, and I challenge everyone to make a commitment to serving their community and taking the time to help others. There are so many organizations that need assistance but the key is being committed to taking a stand and looking beyond the confines of your life. We all have a responsibility to help improve the state of our communities as solutions cannot be implemented if no one speaks up. Do not let another decade pass without finding a cause that speaks to your passions. Educate yourself and your family on the issues in your community and make a commitment to devoting your time and attention to this newly found cause. As the year comes to a close, I challenge everyone to look pass their loosely-defined New Year’s Resolutions and focus on the incoming decade. How will you define the 2020’s and what will your legacy be?
Amira Guy is a junior at Villanova University studying political science and classical studies. Amira is from Laurel Springs, NJ and is an extern for the CSE Institute. After graduation, Amira would like to attend law school and focus on human rights and international law.