A LAUNCH and First Anniversary of The Body Shop -TO RAISE AWRENESS & SPREAD THE WORD
STOP SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
MORGANS HOTEL PENTHOUSE, NYC
It wasn’t too long ago, at a college class reunion that we sat next to a classmate, a career State Department employee, and former Ambassador to many of the world’s hotspots…
And besides figuring out how our collegiate years passed without knowing each at all (he was marching band, we worked part-time/boyfriend the football captain-totally different circles)…
As adults we felt a connection…and an agreement---which the most critical problem, in his opinion, the State department deals with is the illegal slave trade.
Jump to this past week in NYC, where we attended a packed official launch of an online petition (available August 2nd at www.thebodyshop.com/stop) where actress, and select activist Susan Sarandon lent her time, voice, words and commitment to help pal Somaly Mam (her Voices For Change Foundation rescues/ supports southeast Asian victims and helps them grow into healthy adults), The Body Shop (an international beauty/skincare company that leads in corporate cause/social change marketing), and ECPAT USA to STOP TRAFFICKING of CHILDREN and YOUNG PEOPLE---
The hope is to not only raise awareness of this under-the radar tragedy that permeates every corner of the planet (including the USA) but to raise funds, aiding lobbying efforts to effectively implement “Safe Harbor” legislation to protect these vulnerable children.
Before the event, we chatted briefly with Carol Smolenski, Executive Director and Co-Founder of End Child Prostitution And Trafficking-USA---an international non-profit that operates in 75 countries.
“It’s universally accepted that under the age of 18 is accepted as underage,” she told us. Smolenski pointed out that "wherever there is poverty there’s an increased risk of girls being used as a commodity…but the problem is universal…and not just with pre-pubescent kids.”
“It’s absurd to think that a teenage is a wililng prostitute, “ she noted…as most of them have been sexually abused.”
When the program started with some words from The Body Shop’s Shelley Simmons and Somaly Mam, a Cambodian and former victim herself------- who was sold into sexual slavery at age 12 by her grandfather…and is now an amazingly strong woman dedicated to helping others in her former circumstances…
You could hear a pin drop---as it was a solemn moment.
Somaly Mam is a forceful speaker---and introduced a young girl who had her eye knifed out by a pimp---and had to endure 7 operations on top of that trauma, once rescued.
“Giving a Face” to slavery is important…
But it was also a celebration in that so many celebs that, yes do help get the word out, have lent a hand to this cause.
Susan Sarandon herself is one truly credible celeb that packs a punch, so-to-speak, as she is “picky” about who she aligns herself with.
As she rightfully acknowledged, "we all like to shop so why not have your donations go somewhere” –as in the rich Body Shop’s SOFT HANDS KIND HEART Hand Cream, ($10-2.5 oz)with 100% of net proceeds earmarked to stop the fastest growing crime in the world.
Words, Images J. Ecochard