We’ve seen news that a campaign we created a few years ago — Real Men Don’t Buy Girls — is trending again as a call to action to release several hundred Nigerian girls who were kidnapped. While this campaign was originally designed to draw attention to child sex trafficking in the United States, we fully support this effort if it can help raise awareness and put global pressure to return these children.
Two Hundred Schoolgirls Kidnapped To Be Sold
The fight against child sex trafficking is waging on around the world and particularly in Northern Nigeria. Two weeks ago, on April 15th, several hundred girls, ages 14-18 were plucked from their boarding school beds and kidnapped in the middle of the night.
After the girls disappeared without a trace, news of the Nigerian kidnapping remained relatively unreported in the West until the girls’ kidnappers released a statement. In the video, the leader of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, confirmed the worst fears of many, detailing his plans to sell the girls for as little as $12. The girls, many of whom were studying to become teachers, doctors and lawyers, knew the risks of seeking an education, but had returned to school to take final exams anyway.
Boko Haram has recently become infamous for several attacks on the Nigerian government, as well as threats of abducting schoolchildren studying in “Western” schools.
The U.S. Offers Help To Combat Child Sex Trafficking
A White House spokesman announced that the Obama administration had offered to help Nigeria find and prosecute those responsible. The U.N. also condemned these acts and said that Boko Haram would be held accountable for the kidnappings and warned “the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law.”
We, at Thorn, are disgusted to hear news about another group so violently oppressing women and girls. We currently have programs in place such as the BeFree shortcode and Thorn Alerts that are tools to help abducted or exploited children, and to aid law enforcement agencies in the rescue of these victims. While these programs have not expanded internationally, we want to raise our voice and help however we can to raise awareness of this issue and support those who are actively working to rescue these children and return them to their families and their bright futures.
As these recent events have so clearly illustrated, trafficking is not an issue that is isolated to one country or one part of the world – it happens all around the world. We are proud of those who raise their voices and say we will not stand for this. Will you join us?
How can you help? Share this story and to take a stand on behalf of these girls. You can support Thorn’s programs by joining our digital defender email list and stay up-to-date on Facebook and Twitter.