By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times Communities
RICHMOND, VA , January 14 2013 – Human trafficking. It is an ugly crime and a scary topic. This is why many people turn away from the cause, overwhelmed by the crushing gravity of it. Luckily, advocates across the country are refusing to be silent as they expose the issue of human trafficking to friends, family, and neighbors.
Today, this advocate is Jada Pinkett Smith.
Jada will appear on the Katie Couric show on Monday, January 14 in order to raise awareness about human trafficking. Joining Jada are three empowered survivors: Ima Matul, Minh Dang, Withelma “T” Ortiz, and Asia Graves. Katie Couric and Jada Pinkett Smith should be commended not only for inviting survivors to share their stories but also for recognizing their expertise in the discussion.
Survivors are often requested to recount the details of their testimonies at different events, including conferences, symposiums, workshops, and more. Unfortunately, they are then excused from further participation. As a survivor of child sex trafficking myself, this is baffling. If there is to be a discussion or compilation of data regarding the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of survivors, should not there be a survivor present?