Amanda B. Cunningham is Chief Operating Officer of Her Future Coalition and one of their partner organizations, Yoga Medicine® Seva, both of which serve the mission of ending human trafficking by helping at-risk women and girls to break the cycle of poverty that is the direct cause of human trafficking. Amanda says that the illegal sale of human life is truly a global pandemic, only topped by the illegal sale of drugs and firearms. She quotes a United Nations report that states that there are more than 40 million human slaves in the world today—more than ever in our history. Yet, Amanda is hopeful. She says that the purpose of Her Future Coalition is to get to the core of the problem, which is the perspective that girls are “less than.” Through education, and other programs to support it, Her Future Coalition breaks the cycle of exploitation in India and Nepal, which is identified as the epicenter for human sexual trafficking.
Girls and Women Have Value as Products
Amanda says that it is difficult for those of us who live in privileged societies to understand the kind of poverty that supports selling daughters into slavery. She says that there are tribal communities in Nepal and India that celebrate the birth of a girl for that reason. Amanda says that what makes women so valuable is that unlike other products that can be sold only once, a woman can be sold 20 times a night. Dr. Nancy adds that the industry is equally prevalent in the United States, where groups have taken to the streets to contact victims of sexual trafficking and help provide a way out. Dr. Nancy stresses that it’s not just Nepal and India. It’s everybody and every person must say “No—No more” or it’s not going to stop.
Care, Share and Do
Amanda says when people ask her how they can help, she tells them they can care, share and do. When we learn about the problem, it’s impossible not to care about it and want to do something. So the first step is not to turn a deaf ear to it but have the conversation and care enough to start talking. Share the information as much as possible—in your family, in the community, and on social media. The more we can share, the more the problem reveals itself to the world and engages more people to do something. In Amanda’s case, when she learned about it she stepped up to do something, and it became her mission to use her business expertise and join Her Future Coalition leadership. For those who want to do something, Amanda says that it costs $30 a month ($360 a year) to send a girl to school. If that is beyond your means, share as much information as possible with those who can contribute.
Lift Girls and Women into Equality
Listen to or watch this conversation to learn more. Amanda says that we can all lift each other up into equality and erase the perception of girls and women as “less than” other human beings. Once educated, a woman may still be at risk for exploitation, but she will have resources and skills that are worth more to her family and society than the sale of her body and a lifetime of slavery. Amanda says that many of the girls who go through the program go into some sort of service for their community. All but two members of their staff in India are graduates of Her Future programs. Some women are actually becoming police officers to try to fix the corruption that has hurt women for decades. And they are also becoming OB/GYNs in India, a country that has no women obstetrical doctors to care for victims of sexual abuse.
Check out Her Future Coalition website for more information and to donate to future equality, helping one girl at a time.