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SimplyHelp Youth Ambassador Emily Li's Thoughts on her U.N. Experience

SimplyHelp’s U.N. Youth Ambassador Emily Li attended the Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations last month. Emily met many women from around the world, and heard their stories about oppression and the tragedies of sex trafficking. Below is what Emily wrote about her experiences and what she learned from the women she spoke to.

 Sharing thoughts from SimplyHelp Youth Ambassador Emily Li

Attending the Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations was a great experience for me, and I learned so much. There are so many women in the world that are abused who live in fear every day. In many places, girls can’t go to school because they need to work around the house. The media also shapes the way boys and girls view each other. Girls as young as five are sold away to men in other countries. The world we live in is corrupted but we can, and should, do something about it.

Human trafficking is driven by demand. It wouldn’t be happening if people didn’t want it. The sad thing is that children in the places with human trafficking are led to believe it is somehow their fault. One story I heard about human trafficking shocked me very much. A girl named Rose lives in a place where everyone participates in human trafficking. Her mother worked and supported the family, while her dad gambled. To afford food and shelter after her mother died, her father forced her to become a prostitute for his gambling friends, and in return, they gave him money. One day Rose became pregnant. She didn’t know who the father was, yet her dad still made her work as a prostitute. She had to keep the pregnancy a secret because if people found out, she would be kicked out of school and her community would see her as an offender. Soon after Rose gave birth, she had to give her baby to her grandmother because her new husband didn’t want it. Her husband’s family constantly harassed her about her former job as a prostitute, and they made her get another job to feed herself. An organization conducted an interview of over 8000 men and asked if they have ever paid for sex and wondered if the person was under 18. About 10-40% of the men who paid for sex believed the sex workers to be underage. Many men all over the world treat girls as objects.

Girls in some countries are raped everyday and are married off to men three times their age. They can’t tell the police because sometimes the police are the ones doing the harassing. A girl named Lisa’s father beat her on a daily basis. One of her father’s friends sweet-talked her into getting in bed with him. She soon realized she did not want to have sex with him anymore, and told him. He told her if she stopped, he would tell her father she seduced him and her father would beat her. One day she found out she got STDs from him, and when she told him, he laughed because he knew. Here’s another story: one night, a girl was walking home and a man told her he would give her a ride because the streets were dangerous. She got in and soon realized they weren’t going in the direction of her house. She tried to leave, and he stabbed her. It took several knocks on numerous doors before someone finally let her in, and gave her help. In another story, a girl who was learning to become a doctor in the Philippines was shipped off to be a prostitute in Hong Kong, because more money can be made as a sex worker there than practicing medicine in the Philippines. Many young girls are told they aren’t good for anything besides lying on their backs and spreading their legs. Girls are told it’s their fault if they get raped.

Many girls do not go to school because they are harassed, and need to take care of the house. In one country, a girl was raped during school, while a group of boys filmed it with their phones. None of the staff members did anything about it. She soon stopped going to school because it happened almost every day. Many girls are not allowed to go to school because they need to take care of the house while their brothers go to school. Women are typically not risk takers to the extent that men are. Men like to get to where they want to be, and then learn the job. Women like to learn and make sure they know exactly what they’re doing before they try. Girls speak up less than boys in school, and will most likely let a male student interrupt. Many women wait too long to speak up.

In the United States, we are very fortunate, and take everything for granted. We wake up in the morning and we’re not thankful for the bed we slept in or the roof over our heads. We walk to school in the morning, not knowing how many girls cannot do that because boys will rape them on the way there. Many kids hate school, and don’t appreciate the fact that it’s there for us. In many countries there aren’t good schools, and where there is a school, it is of very bad quality. We are so lucky to have three meals a day because in many places, they are lucky to receive one meal a day. We take for granted that our parents pay for school and clothing because in other countries if you want those things, you need to go sell your own body. My experiences at the United Nations taught me so much, and I thank SimplyHelp for giving me this opportunity to learn about what goes on in the world. SimplyHelp does so many wonderful things like providing shelter for older people, and schools for women and girls.

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