Exploited Children

 

Children on the Streets by Jay Begay

U.S. Department of Justice reports that 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation.

This is unacceptable. I see children on the streets with adult men in the backgrounds. I know that children are being used for prostitution.

I don’t have a solution.

I pray for those children.

We are Native people who believe that our children are precious and that we are protectors.

Why is it so wrong to turn away from this issue?

I look at kids who are safe at home. They laugh; they run to an adult when something is wrong, they know they count for something.

Then I see the homeless kids on the streets, some of whom are prostitutes. They don’t laugh or cry. Their arms hold themselves close in defense of everything. I wave at them but they don’t wave back. They trust no one.

I think hard about the basics of my faith. I have learned to trust that there is something deeper than surface stuff that bothers me. I have learned to look for goodness in people and events. I have learned to work with those who want good things for all people. I have learned to respect those who are different.

So when I see these kids, waiting for customers late at night, I hurt.

I can’t live in faith and ignore those who don’t have a chance.

I don’t know how I am going to do this but I am not going to forget them.

I can pray, volunteer, raise money whatever. I can do something.

Jay Begay

For the Journey YouthImage

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