Dehumanizing women is a global problem

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Growing up in a borderland community, I had two options in my life – pursue a college education or start a family at an early age. As a young Hispanic aspiring journalist I know my purpose in life is to obtain a degree in hopes of continuing on to graduate school.

I feel saddened that for the most part many women around the world do not have this opportunity in life. Men dictate their lives and say what route they should take in their careers. I have been doing a lot of research on human trafficking, and I have come across many stories about young women in search of a better life who are lured into that dehumanizing situation.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity behind drug crime. It is a sensitive subject because there is a lot of this going on in our community, and other cities near us. Young women are being forced into human trafficking everyday in the U.S. through violence, manipulations, threats, lies, and other scheming tactics.

According to statistics from the Covering House, a national organization that provides refuge and restoration to victims, human trafficking generates approximately $9.5 billion a year in the United States. Nearly 300,000 children are at risk of prostitution in the U.S. starting at13 to 14 years old and even as early as eight years of age. One in three young teenagers on the streets will be trapped into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. A victim is usually forced to have sex many times a day. A “pimp” can make up to $150,000 to $200,000 dollars per child yearly and usually has four to six girls.

Even women with higher education, particularly in Russia, can be victims of human trafficking because a college degree is no longer a safeguard, especially during systemic political and social transition. This causes young women with college educations who are desperate for work to seek employment out of their comfort zone. Even though these women are educated, they have very limited knowledge of street life.

In April 2014, a terror group called Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 young women in northeastern Nigeria from their school. This terrorist group strongly believes that it is a sin for women to pursue their education.

All women should have the opportunity to pursue a higher education, and more than anything to have their say of how they should live their lives respected. Women as a whole are often portrayed as weak because for many centuries men have had power over women and society has continued support this. We are slowly coming to a realization that this is not the case anymore especially in more industrialized countries. Women are now starting to own their own businesses and are obtaining more degrees compared to men.

Emma Watson is known for her major roles in Harry Potter films but has recently had a major role in the feminist movement. She is the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the He- for-She campaign, which is a movement to raise awareness in gender equality. Recently, Watson launched a Q-and-A video for her campaign and encouraged all genders to, “be whatever you want to be; don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot be.” Watson also inspired young teenagers of both genders who feel that they can’t express themselves, “being passionate, it’s what makes us human, not a woman.”

I strongly believe women deserve political, social and economic equality, and should be given the same opportunities as men receive when it comes to making important decisions that affect a large section of the community. Women play a large role in contributing to all mankind with compassion and caring for one another. More than anything we share our wisdom and give a helping hand. Women should have a voice and not be afraid of speaking up.

Feminism is not about gender discrimination; it supports the equality for all humanity worldwide.

“Violence against women and girls is a global problem; it harms women, families, community, and societies. We can only stop it by working together. Men and Women.” –Ban Ki-moon US Secretary General.

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