“ACT-NOW” Is Combating Child Trafficking in Metro Washington

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October 1, 2012

By Staff Reporter & Columnist, Sam Prasad JillellaSpecial to MYDOSTI.COM

WASHINGTON DC — Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s future. But, it’s just not automatic for today’s children to become future leaders — they need to be cared, cultured, and nurtured accordingly.

October 1, 2012

By Staff Reporter & Columnist, Sam Prasad JillellaSpecial to MYDOSTI.COM

WASHINGTON DC — Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s future. But, it’s just not automatic for today’s children to become future leaders — they need to be cared, cultured, and nurtured accordingly.

Abolish Child Trafficking Now, Inc. (ACT-NOW) is a two-year old non-profit 501(C)(3) organization headed by three dynamic business entrepreneurs — Promod Sharma, president of Criterion Systems, Jeff Brouse, co-founder of BizGravity, and Lisa Forczyk, president of IT Insights  — who love children and care for their stability and wellbeing.

ACT-NOW, a Metro Washington-based humanitarian initiative, works to prevent the trafficking of children into commercial sex and domestic as well as sweatshop labor, by causing awareness. 

Promod Sharma told MYDOSTI.COM: “A 2003 CNN segment on child trafficking worldwide prompted me to focus my attention on this growing issue. As a result, I worked with a group of individuals who shared my passion. We became aware of the level of child trafficking right here in Metro Washington, and we decided to direct our charitable efforts to this region.”

ACT-NOW provides support and education to trafficked at-risk children, and their families in the nation’s capital. These anti-trafficking measures provide a holistic intervention with an emphasis on prevention. 

USA TODAY has reported that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children claims at least 100,000 children across the US are trafficked each year.

Trafficking often begins when a child's parents are promised education or work opportunities for their son or daughter. These parents are misled into sending their child to live with a friend, relative, or stranger.

“Children who run away from home", Sharma says, "hangout in the malls and other public places. Seeing them desperate for food, and shelter,   child traffickers lure them offering money, drugs, and better prospects of life, and enslave them for years. These traffickers earn more than $200,000 per year, per a minor, tax free."

ACT-NOW co-founder, Jeff Brouse told MYDOSTI.COM that their primary task is to align with like-organizations and cause awareness of child trafficking. It is sad that these children are trafficked and prostituted.

When asked, how are children trafficked in Metro Washington? Brouse said: “These are children who have no money. They are from poor, broken households. They end up in the streets, and they are brought in by a pimp, promising them job-support, and home-support. The reason they are provided such high hope, these kids — boys and girls — end up in such a situation. The pimp takes them in, promising them food, clothing, and better things of life, and prostitutes them and abuses them.”

ACTNOWDC.ORG website mentions that an estimated 2.44 million humans are trafficked annually for sexual and labor exploitations, and more than 50% of those trafficked are children. The average age of a trafficked child is 12 years, and the average life span of a trafficked child is 5 years.

In his speech, at the Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York, last week, President Obama said: “The trafficking of people contributes to the debasement of our common humanity, tears at our social fabric, endangers public health, and fuels violence and organized crime…It is barbaric and it is evil and it has no place in a civilized world.”

Brouse sounded optimistic in his interview. “Within 5 to 10 years, if we work aggressively, causing awareness with help from social media organizations like MYDOSTI.COM, we can nullify child trafficking in Metro Washington. We will work with the police, Catholic Charities, and other organizations to achieve this goal.

ACT-NOW plans to build a “SAFE HOUSE” in Metro Washington — a residential, educational, vocational, and clinical home for trafficked children to provide a safe place to live and learn life skills to become responsible citizens, and lead a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

ACT-NOW is looking for individuals and corporations who want to join hands to provide help to raise $5 million in private funding to establish the "SAFE HOUSE" facility.

Sharma told MYDOSTI.COM that ACT-NOW uses hundred percent of the contributions to combating child trafficking and rehabilitating victims. The administrative expenses are borne by the office–bearers.

Your contributions and support can save lives.


Community NEWS Special by MYDOSTI.COM