Carnival may have been in full swing, but beneath the revelry, there’s also a dark underbelly. Experts say during major events like Carnival, there will be an increase of women who were forced into the sex trade hitting the streets.
“The sex trade, it’s an industry, and like in any industry it’s supply and demand. And anytime you have a large influx of people, especially when people are coming to maybe partake in drugs and alcohol, perhaps do things in New Orleans that they wouldn’t do in their home town and there’s an increase in demand,” said Kara Van De Carr, founder and executive director of Eden House, a long-term shelter for survivors of sex trafficking. “Often it does involve movement, bringing women from other places down to work on Bourbon Street.”
Next time you’re walking down Bourbon Street and you see a women who clearly looks like a prostitute, pause for a second, suggests Van De Carr. “Instead of judging, maybe you should stop and wonder what is her story? Was she 12 and snatched off the street like Clemmie [a sex trafficking survivor]?” she said.
If you spot suspicious activity, you could turn a woman’s life around by reporting it. You can call police or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. You can also download an app called “Look Beneath the Surface” that can help you decipher if suspicious activity is indeed trafficking, created by a local pedicab operator.
Learn more at Monica Hernandez’ WWLTV News article: With Carnival in full swing, sex-trafficking survivor speaks out.