Slavery still exists today; so many children in America and across the world are held in bondage, but rather than physical chains many are instead chained by fear, shame, and depression. Many Americans are still unaware that this is the case, but we are thankful that those who do know about it are willing to do something about it. These people, these modern-day abolitionists, are standing arm in arm with us in the fight against child sex trafficking.
Each month we highlight one of our supporters and fellow abolitionists and give them thanks for helping us in the fight. This month, we wish to single out Annmarie Aiello, here are her own words as to why she supports us.
Working towards combating human trafficking became my passion while in graduate school in Prague, Czech Republic. I took a class on refugee issues where we learned about the threat many young female refugees faced of falling victim to sexual exploitation and human trafficking. At that moment, it became clear that not only would I research and write my Master's thesis on how globalization impacts the issue of human trafficking, but I would direct my focus to researching and fighting this crime.
Thus, I became an advocate for education. Creating awareness and providing access to education will create a foundation that directly impacts youth and decreases the probability of one falling victim to human trafficking. With this goal in mind, I moved to Albania to work with marginalized youth, and worked on the Anti-Trafficking in Human Beings team at the International Centre for Migration Policy in Vienna, Austria. Working in the field opened my eyes even more to the complexity of human trafficking, especially at home in the United States.
Upon moving back to the United States, I focused on the problem at hand in our own backyard. Being involved with ECPAT-USA as both a volunteer and donor, I know that my contribution is helping raise awareness and providing education on the topic of child exploitation and trafficking. Children are the most vulnerable group, and it is groups like ECPAT that spread the word and are the catalysts that promote all levels of government to open their eyes to the issue at hand. Every child needs a voice, and I am proud that ECPAT is there to be it.