Guest Blogger – Valeria Hansen served as a Teen Advisor from 2013-2014. She is from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Valeria founded the South Florida Girl Up club, bringing together girls in the South Florida area to participate in advocacy, fundraising and awareness building events.
On November 19, I was honored to speak to students and faculty at the Miami Dade College InterAmerican Campus for their Human Rights Human Trafficking Series. The topic of my presentation was “Girl Up: Advancing Human Rights among Women Starting with Young Females”. I focused it on how Girl Up helps girls avoid certain dangers and risks through education and counting girls around the world, thus introducing the Girls Count Act of 2013 to the audience.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of exploitation. Eighty percent of the total children trafficked worldwide are women and girls, who are often stripped of their identities and trapped in a vicious cycle of mental, physical, and sometimes sexual abuse. Globally, 50 million children lack an official identity, name, and nationality, making them invisible and susceptible to human trafficking.
The Girls Count Act of 2013 has the potential to be a powerful tool against human trafficking, aimed to help ensure that all girls are counted and have access to birth certificates and other necessary documentation. Moreover, proper birth registration is critical in protecting children from child labor, illegal adoptions, and other forms of exploitation.
An educated girl is a strong girl. Whether it is a girl supported by Girl Up programs or a Girl Up advocate, when they are more educated on the topic, they minimize their risks and maximize their awareness and strengths.
The audience was shocked by the statistics I shared with them, and when I spoke about the inspiring work Girl Up is doing to change all this, many members in the audience responded with “How can I join?”
The students and faculty left my presentation inspired and eager to sign the petition and join the South Florida Girl Up Club. Many of them immediately connected on social media to access the link of the Girls Count Act of 2013, or inquired about how to create another Girl Up club in South Florida, knowing that there is more work to be done.
You can help girls count by telling your member of Congress to support the Girls Count Act of 2013.