Arielle Cutrara, the Chapel Hill community ambassador for the organization, said going after those who oversee child trafficking organizations won’t single-handedly solve the problem.
“They have found that it is a supply and demand issue,” she said. “As long as there is a demand for it, child trafficking will continue. You can close down any brothel and another will spring up and take its place.”
Ron Lewis said that, as of a few years ago, there were more than 200 groups working on the supply side of the issue and none on the demand side.
But Stop Child Trafficking Now, which has been in operation for three years, is working to change that.
The organization pays retired counter-terrorist experts to identify predators. The experts then present evidence to police, who will make arrests, Lynette Lewis said.
Four to six predators are being identified per day, Ron Lewis said.
The Body Shop, a cosmetics shop, sent representatives to the event. The business donates portions of its profits to fighting the problem, said Kay Gainey, human resources partner for the store.
Gainey said the prosecution of young girls who are forced into prostitution is a step in the wrong direction, and that the business is collecting signatures in support of laws that would give protection to underage girls who fall victim to sex trafficking. The business has already collected 900,000 signatures. It is looking to present 1.5 million signatures to the United Nations in January, Gainey said.
The signatures are intended to influence the U.N.’s passage of safe harbor laws to protect victims of sex trafficking from arrest.
Jim Ladd, a graduate student who volunteered at the event, said that act of marching was only the beginning.
“The walk is about awareness,” he said. “It’s about starting that conversation with people.”
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