About a year ago, my husband and I became friends with a fellow abolitionist online through Twitter. After corresponding via email and phone for several months, we had the opportunity to actually have a face-to-face meeting with Seth Johnson in Florida back in July. Our lunch conversation probably got some heads turning as we discussed our hopes, frustrations, and experiences regarding sex trafficking. It’s safe to say we have become good friends! I would like to introduce you to Seth and the work he does at Transitions Global.
Seth, what is your role at Transitions Global?
Advocacy director – this basically means that I do everything I can to get the word out about the issue and about Transitions Global. I also try to engage individuals in raising awareness and support for our organization.
What makes Transitions Global different from other anti-trafficking organizations?
I think the biggest difference that I see is their commitment to trauma therapy and to restoring choice to these girls.It has been said that girls who are rescued have the same level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as Combat Vets who have served three tours of duty. The fact that we work with professional therapists and some who are leaders in the States in their profession makes a huge difference.
The ideology that is always present of restoring choice to these girls is another thing that makes TG unique. A lot of organizations will train girls to do one thing, ie. sewing, cake making, hair dressing etc. While this still might be better than the alternative, I believe it is not the best for them. TG strives to teach them that they have a choice – that they can dream and follow those dreams! This is not easy, there is not way to streamline it. But we are working with individuals, and I think it’s the only truly effective way to do it.
Why are you passionate about justice in the area of sex trafficking?
This is a difficult question to truly answer, but I think it’s a combination of several different things.
- Being in the right place at the right time
- Being introduced to the issue by volunteering to research it for a group
- Having three little girls of my own
- Traveling to Cambodia and seeing the issues first-hand. I would have to say this is the biggest reason. Â Once you have seen it, once you know about it, it’s hard if not impossible to turn a blind eye and not do anything about it.
What is the biggest need currently at TG?
While TG is a world leader in after care for this segment of the global population, we are still a grassroots organization. We need people to know our story – to know what we do. To catch our passion to help these girls and to help us raise awareness and support! We cannot help these girls all by ourselves, we need people’s help!
Do you have a story or experience that you can share that has impacted you?
Over the last three years of working as hard as I can on this issue, I have collected a good bit of stories, but there is one that stands out the most. While I was in Cambodia, I filmed a documentary on one of the girls in the safe home. This little girl had been bounced around from one shelter to another before she found us. So we asked her, what’s the biggest difference about this place? About TG? She said, “Transitions feels like home.” This said it all for me, a girls who had suffered abuses beyond imagination was now finally in a place she felt she could call home. Simply amazing!
Do you think that there is hope?
This issue is very dark and very bleak. The successes are few and far between and right now the momentum is definitely on the side of the traffickers. However, a rising tide of concern is growing over the issue, and I think that once the tide of concern rises high enough it will turn into action. Once people choose action over awareness, then we will start putting a huge dent into this issue! I am reminded of Sir Edmund Burke’s quote: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
I don’t know about you, but Seth’s answers coupled with the video clips tugged at my heart strings while truly demonstrating hope in a dark place. Check out the Transitions Global website for more information about what they do, how donations are used, and how you can get involved. Click here to sponsor Seth in his October Run for Freedom.