March 21, 2008 -- If you're a viewer wondering how to help women or girls entrenched in the sex industry, or if you know someone who needs support, there are several online resources available.
Visit the following Web sites to learn more about programs in your area, and to find out what you can do to help end commercial sexual exploitation.
Each year, Children of the Night helps hundreds of children ages 11 to 17 who are forced into prostitution.
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-International works internationally "to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms, especially prostitution and trafficking in women and children, in particular girls."
It educates communities around the world, testifies before lawmakers, documents sex trafficking and raises awareness in the United States and abroad about sexual exploitation.
ECPAT-USA, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., stands for End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking.
It is a children's rights organization aimed at protecting kids from commercial sexual exploitation via "education, advocacy and the passage and enforcement of strong laws."
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), located in New York City, "provides preventive and transitional services to young women, ages 12-21, who are at risk for or involved in sexual exploitation and violence."
According to its Web site, 90 percent of young women involved in prostitution were sexually abused as children.
Nicholas Kristof's blog at NYTimes.com. Kristof, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, has been an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times since November 2001. CLICK HERE to read his March 16 posting about prostitution. CLICK HERE to read a follow-up posting from March 19.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, located in Alexandria, Va., stores data, operates a tip line and provides information to law enforcement agencies.
Its goal is to "help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families and the professionals who serve them."
Polaris Project, an international organization, serves U.S. citizens and foreign national victims of human trafficking. By operating crisis hot lines, providing victims with housing and services and challenging lawmakers to anti-trafficking legislation, the Polaris Project increases awareness both here and abroad.
Safe Horizon says it is the largest provider of domestic violence services in the country. The organization is on a mission "to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities."
The SAGE Project in San Francisco stands for Standing Against Global Exploitation. It offers restorative justice programs, trauma and drug recovery programs, wellness and vocational programs and education to several hundred women and girls each week, in addition to raising awareness about commercial sexual exploitation.
Shared Hope International seeks to prevent sex trafficking, rescue women who become involved in the sex trade and "build communities that heal and empower women and children who have been victimized by traffickers."
Youth Advocate Program International or YAPI is especially attentive to the needs of children victimized by conflict and exploitation, as well as state and personal violence.