VOTE NOW: stART2end Writing Contest

  |  Topic: Atlanta Teen Voices, Contests, Poetry
By

In the past few years alone, Georgia has identified hundreds of victims of child sex trafficking and many youth who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. While victim services and legislative awareness continues to grow, there is a critical voice missing from the public dialogue—the voice of youth. youthSpark has seen a dramatic increase in the number of youth-led groups searching for ways to take a stand against trafficking. stART2end is our way of engaging youth on their terms.

stART2end is an art competition created by teens and designed to engage teens in a safe way using creativity, art, and social media to amplify their voices. Our goal is to give teens a way to lift up their voice, because it is their friends and classmates who are bought and sold as products. This is their social justice issue. The following submissions were created by high school teens across the Atlanta metro area. The submissions revolve around three themes: educating the public on the child sex trafficking, social media awareness, and victim support and alliance.

Vote for the entry you feel best engages with the spirit of the stART2end competition. This could mean an entry that best explains the issue of trafficking, sheds an unexpected light or perspective, or one you simply find most creative. Voting will close at 12PM on January 22nd. The names of the writers are above their pieces and the form to vote is linked at the bottom of the post. Thanks for participating!

Christopher Sun: 

 

In Bed

 

sleep

with me

with him

with her

 

he lies

i do too

he forces

i obey

 

beaten

battered

broken

 

scared

slapped

sold

 

his voice still lingers over me

 

sleep

with me

with him

with her

 

Karan Ganta:

A Child’s Predicament

I see a child prostitute on a cold winter night;

While other children snuggled in their beds warm and tight

Here these kids stood in plain sight.

Normal yet not, they looked emotionally distraught;

“Don’t they have a family to be with?” is what I thought.

For an ideal world, this was definitely not right.

Are they criminals in society?

Was it really their fault in their entirety?

Was it truly their choice or just a familial obligation?

Maybe they were trying to keep their younger siblings from starvation.

Probably abused physically, bruised and battered,

I wanted to tell them that they mattered.

There were those that could help them with mental abuse.

I see a sexually exploited child, unable to choose.

For those that do not know, sexual exploitation of children occurs often and too much in a world we deem to be better than its history. These people are not child prostitutes, but sexually exploited children. If you or someone you know need help with such a situation, contact youthSpark at 404-612-4628 or at info@youth-spark.org.

 

Guarav Malhotra:

Learning Before Tackling

The word trafficking is often approached with a stigma similar to that of mental illness or rampant disease. It is believed to be a problem only for underdeveloped Asian and African countries, but not something that actually affects the United States. The truth, however, I far from this.

Atlanta is one of the leading capitals of sex trafficking on planet earth, due largely in part to its busy airport and location. Sex trafficking is hidden in the façade of a regular relationship – it is not easy to detect. But it exists before many people’s eyes daily, and is an international business.

Understanding its large grasp is the first step to tackling this issue. While such horrendous acts have always existed and may continue, an understanding and departure from denial is the sole key to thinning out the inhumane acts of trafficking. That’s what YouthSpark aims to offer.

 

Wendy Zheng:

helpline services,

explain your situation.

 

i feel exploited and

try again. message not received.

 

isolated?

try again. message not received.

 

is anyone there

try again. message not received.

 

safe?

help is on the way.

end of call.

 

Free Style by Valendia:

I’m black
I’m proud
I’m THICK
I’m loud
I’m beautiful
I’m nice
Add some flavor Some spice
But seriously
I love myself
I’m feeling this rhyme

Didn’t take much time

 

Our Voice by youthSPARK voices:

Strongminded with beauty and brains
Coming together as one, willing to change
Stop smoking weed to cope with your pain
We are worth more than we think
With society looking and judging, it’s time to make a change Through the cries and the pain, nothing stays the same Young, gifted, and black what a dream
Our future is coming, it’s not too late
Dream big and it could turn into reality
My future, my voice is where it’s at
Yesterday I found my voice
Today I’m here to shout about it!

 

Yummy Pearl by Amiyah:

I once was a slave.
I once was tight.
I smoked a blunt. And things didn’t go right.

I was on the street, Selling my soul for meat. With nothing to spare And nothing to eat.

I thought I loved him.
I thought he was the one. Until he stole it from me, And my body went numb.
I obeyed his commands, He was my god. Something told me to change, So I had to drop the rod.

I still am weak until this day.
But I know soon, God will take the pain away. I pray every day for change to come. And now I am changed,
The damage is done.

To vote for your favorite written piece, click here.

No Hesitation (Sonnet #1)
VOTE NOW: stART2end Art Contest from youthSPARK

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.