You’ve probably gleaned the headlines this week (and if not, here is a link) revealing that 29 people, most of them living in the Twin Cities, were indicted for human trafficking of Somali girls throughout the United States. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with you, so you’ll let it sit in your mental queue for awhile, quietly condemning it, until memory of the story fades away.
But before it goes, stuff this deplorable nugget in the file: According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PDF), citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, “There is only one shelter in the United States designed specifically to meets the needs of trafficking victims, and it currently only houses 7-9 victims.” One reason for that is, “Because trafficking is closely associated with organized crime, there are very serious security risks involved in providing shelter for trafficking victims.”
But here’s a rare serendipity of negative cause and potentially positive response. This evening, at the close of the same week as the recent indictments were handed down, a long-planned benefit concert to help combat human sex trafficking will take place at the Fallout Arts Initiative Co-op in Minneapolis. The concert is part of an effort to raise $42,000 by Nov. 16, which will be a down payment on the Source Annex, a transitional home for victims of sex trafficking.
“Human trafficking,” or even “sex trafficking,” are polite phrases for slavery. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 women are “trafficked” into the United States each year, along with tens of thousands of others, many of them runaway girls, who get ensnared into prostitution and other soul-robbing labor and are moved around from state to state. According to the U.S. State Department, human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity, behind only drugs and arms.
Tonight’s concert will feature Jake Amerding, who has five albums to his credit and has been called by the Boston Globe, “the most gifted and promising songwriter to emerge from the Boston folk scene in years.”
You can see Amerding in action here (showing off his violin chops in an amusing way); here (“Belong To You”) and here (“Walking on the World”).
Also on the bill is The Brighton, featuring songwriter Ben Rosenbush, and singer-songwriter and poet Heatherlyn.
Here is Heatherlyn with Ben Rosenbush on cello.
Most importantly, here is the website for Source, an organization that has been helping homeless youth for 15 years. Even if you can’t make the gig, maybe you can figure out a way to send them a few bucks or an hour or two of your time.
Folk Rock Turns Out The Red Light” at the Fallout Arts Initiative Co-op at 26th St. and 2nd Ave. S. in Minneapolis; tonight at 7 p.m.; tickets are $12.