Episode 50

Andrea Powell - Stopping Traffick


November 18th, 2020

55 mins 41 secs

Your Host

About this Episode

"In 2016, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims. Of those, 86% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.” - Polaris Project 

This episode was as incredibly emotional as it is deeply inspiring and important.

I’m so grateful to Andrea Powell for honoring my request to create this episode on the subject of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in America. Not only is Andrea an incredible resource, but she’s also a beautiful human being with a fierce heart and a sharp mind. I have no doubt you will see what a powerful advocate she is for those she serves and why this issue is such an important one for all of us to become involved in solving.

I urge everyone who comes across this episode to listen in and understand the ingredients that perpetuate this epidemic across multiple industries in America. My hope is that by listening we become empowered to help put an end to this practice once and for all.

Note: While we did not discuss the QAnon conspiracy on this episode, Andrea has dispelled these myths repeatedly on other shows. For more information on this subject please contact her directly because it presents a dangerous distraction to the real issues of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Those on the front lines of this epidemic are deeply perplexed by this complex and disturbing narrative.

Andrea Powell is the co-founder of Karana Rising, a survivor-led nonprofit that dares to support survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation for life. With her team, she offers survivors a chance to lead in their lives while healing from their past. She is also the Director of Survivor Engagement at UNITAS and is the founder of FAIR Girls, an organization offering safe housing to young women survivors of human trafficking. Andrea is an author and artist; her work has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, BCC, and NBC Think. She enjoys creating multimedia art and writing.

Show Notes: 

  • Human trafficking at its core is about exploiting people’s vulnerabilities.
  • Our vulnerabilities at home are much deeper than most parents realize because of online apps and unregulated and insecure gaming.
  • The pandemic amplifies this vulnerability even more because so many kids are home, feeling lonely, and therefore vulnerable based on their hunger for connection and attention.
  • The vast majority of those trafficked are women and minorities.
  • Our society is disabled, not those who survive trafficking.
  • A trafficker's worse nightmare is an empowered kid.
  • Andrea’s goal is to see every woman feel valued and loved and to stop human trafficking.
  • Many women who are survivors of human trafficking have a continuum of trauma which also involves a continuum of healing.
  • Andrea also works with UNITAS and has written a parenting guide so that parents can know how to deal with threats as well as what to look for.
  • Roblox is an online gaming app with faulty security that endangers children to sextortion and Andrea wishes someone from the organization would respond to her outreach.
  • Andrea was afraid to start a non-profit for human trafficking but a wise woman said to her, “Even if you only help one person, your organization will have been worth building.”
  • “My Octopus Teacher” is a film that metaphorically represents the case of Tiffany Simpson to Andrea. Tiffany is a survivor of sex trafficking that was convicted to 17 years in prison and is still currently serving the sentence with seven years to go vs. the trafficker that exploited her. This shows how backward our laws are and how they perpetuate the cycle of exploitation.
  • People are conditioned to silo their experiences, and experiencing trauma is often at the heart of many mental health issues.
  • Money is a trauma source for many survivors of human trafficking.
  • Being trafficked is like a disappearing act because it happens slowly to many people who are already feeling invisible. Andrea shares that her job is to help human trafficking survivors reappear and reclaim their wholeness.
  • Online dating apps, online gaming, and insecure apps are all sources of exploitation. Ending human trafficking is an act of love.
  • The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally. 81% of them are trapped in forced labor. 25% of them are children. 75% are women and girls. (Source: Polaris Project)
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