Depression in the context of exploitation

There are many cases of depression in which we see a young teenage girl who has suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. This could happen to boys, young adults and people with learning disabilities and the elderly. The most vulnerable people in our society are at risk from sexual exploitation. Although these people may experience severe depression, how can we treat them effectively if they are still in danger and their lives are at risk? 

People living in China and Russia and Saudi Arabia do not experience the same freedoms as those in the UK or USA. Chinese workers produce so much for the world for relatively little pay. However in the Western World large multi-national companies have more influence and power than nation states. Within all this there are 27 million children living in slavery in the world, there is slavery in the UK and many countries linked to organized crime, the sex trade and the illegal drugs industry.

The internet reaches all corners of the earth and many young people do access the internet each day. It is through the internet that young people can be influenced and drawn into the illegal world. In our world there are laws that value human rights and justice for all. we need to enforce these laws of a civilized society in order to protect the most vulnerable.

In our world it must be possible to use our technology and goodwill to each other to uncover and eradicate the criminal abuse of children and adults. We need to think of how we respond to this issue in our families, local communities and countries. There may not be a will to see this through owing to cultural differences e.g. within the Islamic countries of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Indonesia and African states. How will China and Russia respond to this issue? Some of these countries do not offer their people democracy. However we have democracy in the UK and yet some of our children suffer by abuse and exploitation. Although most abuse occurs in families, the issue is one for the whole of our free society.

However there are significant language and cultural barriers in tackling this issue of sexual exploitation across Europe and between the Eastern and Western Worlds. None of us should condone or allow slavery, abuse or cruelty. Professor Alexis Jay had recently published a report in the UK about the reality of the organized sexual abuse of 1400 teenage girls from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, by predominantly male perpetrators of Pakistani Origin living on the UK. This is truly appalling but it may be more widespread than anyone could imagine, not just in the UK but around the world. Perpetrators can be visualized as older Asian men, paedophiles, psychopaths, criminals, or politicians or celebrities. However anyone could be a perpetrator from any part of society. We must address this issue that causes sickness in our society. How far would we go to change our society to make it safe and free for all? I can't believe I am writing this in a democratic England in 2015!

In reality many teenage girls and boys who have suffered abuse, cruelty and sexual exploitation will present as depressed to mental health professionals. If we can develop trust in our relationships we can offer support in this issue. Social Services and Police will need to be involved in creating safety and protecting anyone currently at risk of being abused. If abuse is disclosed then there needs to be a swift protective response. Young people may not want to disclose as they may fear the consequences, but we must all do the right thing. It is right to speak out. It is right for us to protect vulnerable people who are being abused. If a young person can see a future free from harm then maybe we can help them move into new phase of their life where they can be safe and move on.

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