Foreign Policy Blogs

Awarness Saves Our Children

Today as I was taking my morning brake, I decided to watch The View on TV and it was a typical show full of quirky antidotes and sudden ramblings on celebrities, politics and whatever else the big story in the news is. The guest co-host today was Jamie-Lynn Sigler from the hit show the Sopranos. A bright and intelligent young girl she spoke candidly about her battles with anorexia and then the conversation turned into the subject of rape for a brief moment.

Jamie-Lynn told everyone about a time when she interrupted and stopped a rape. She was sleeping soundly in her hotel room when she heard a lot of commotion and yelling from the room next door, so she decided to listen closer and make sure it was nothing serious. She soon realized they where the muffled screams of a woman and when she heard a bottle broke her instincts sent her running into the hall. She saw the woman's arm half out the door and she was desperately fighting her assailant to get away. Jamie-Lynn's reaction was to kick the door and grab the woman and run her into her own room and then call the hotel security to block all the entrances. These efforts caught the man and though his story was widely different than that of his victims, both women's willingness to testify sent him to jail.

Now this story in itself is a great show of both courage and awareness, but I want to focus on the awareness issue. Had Miss Sigler not taken a moment to listen closely she may have just gone to sleep and awoke oblivious to the rape next door. But she didn't and this is what I want to talk to you about. The victim, turned out to be a teenage runaway and the man had promised her a job on a cruise line, but the reality is that this attack was probably only the beginning. This is actually only the sad beginning for so many children and adolescents that are victims of human trafficking. The story rings so similar to ones I’ve heard about victims of trafficking and how they were forced into the cold and violent world of sex trafficking. So in my mind Ms. Sigler didn't stop a rape, but prevented a victim of trafficking. If only we could all be so aware and safe an innocent child from such a horrid fate.

The sad part is Jamie-Lynn said when she got out into the hall there where people sanding idly by dumbfounded by the scene. But that surprises me little, for everyday millions of people obliviously walk by victims of abuse. We blatantly ignore the signs of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, bullying, sexual abuse and so much more. But why? Why do we ignore the signs' when I know so many of you feel in your guts that there is something wrong with the situation? Are we just too scared to know the truth or do we think there is nothing we can do? I think the answer to the last question is that yes we are scared and yes we do think there is nothing we can do. But that is where we are wrong we can all do something and we don't have to be scared. As a society we need to become more aware and more empowered or victims will go on being victims and the numbers will continue to grow.

So if you see a child or adolescent that is being abused don't stand helplessly by and let them suffer, report it, talk to the child, and look for the signs. We can end violence against the vulnerable and if we all start with one child we are well on our way to winning the fight.

Please find a few resource links listed below to learn more on how you can identify a victim of abuse or trafficking. This is in no way a conclusive list of resources, please see my resource links on the Children's main page for more associated organizations and information.


Human Trafficking Resources, Facts and Signs

The Storm Project
– Resources for Health Care Providers

US State Department – Tips for Recognizing Victims of Trafficking

Be Smart, Be Safe…Don't Be a Victim of the Trade in People

Salvation Army – Emergency Response to Suspected Trafficking Cases

The Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

Fact Sheet

Child Abuse Resources, Facts and Signs

Signs of Child Abuse

Find – Signs and Resources

Help – Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Help

Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute

American Humane – Fact Sheets

Child Abuse Statistics, Research and Resources



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict