It’s easy to think of human trafficking as a far away problem, but it isn’t.
In the last 37 years, the nonprofit organization Children of the Night has helped rescue more than 10,000 children and young people from sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution in the United States.
To help raise awareness and money for the organization, the Atlanta Glam-Rock group Starbenders has set out on a short tour with the Dallas band Rosegarden Funeral Party.
“Children of the night is a great organization based out of LA,” says Kimi Shelter, singer and guitarist of Starbenders. “They help kids that are sexually exploited have a shot at a normal childhood and life. It’s a very uncomfortable topic, and our goal is to raise awareness. These kids are forgotten a lot of the time, and they need a lot of help.
“No one wants to admit that it’s happening on our soil," she says. "This country has a bad habit of brushing these kinds of things under the rug.”
Although none of the band members has had personal experience with human trafficking, the organization still holds special significance for the singer.
“I was sexualized at a very young age and am familiar with the pain of being a child that grows up too fast,” she says. “As children, you’re a victim, but once you become an adult, you have choices. You can choose to be happy, you can choose to help others.”
Helping others is what this tour is about. Audienceswill be encouraged to make donations on the website childrenofthenight.org. Shelter says also a portion of the money from door sales at some of the shows will go to Children of the Night.
Picking Rosegarden Funeral Party to join Starbenders on this tour was a natural choice for Shelter.
“I came across [singer] Leah [Lane] and her band one day on Instagram and thought they were amazing,” Shelter says. “Her voice is incredible, and she’s the real deal. Not only does their sound and vibe sync up with ours, but they care about the cause wholeheartedly as well.”
Lane shares the same feelings.
“Being asked to go on tour with a band as amazing as Starbenders was an incredible honor on its own,” Lane says, “but to be doing it for a cause as noble as Children of the Night makes it truly meaningful.”
The mission of Children of the Night matched the mission of her band, Lane says.
“Children of the Night works to remove children, the world’s innocents and future, from the hands of those who with to do them harm,” Lane says. “We do no harm, and we will work/flight/bleed/sing to get others out of harm's way. We love and protect those we care about, and we care about those youths that are trapped in horrific situations they cannot escape from.”
To help fill out the lineup for the Dallas show, Sub-Sahara will open.
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“We love playing benefit shows, especially when the money goes to a nonprofit organization," Sub-Sahara singer and bassist Aarón Mireles says. "It was our first time hearing about Children of the Night, and being a part of this show really means a lot to us.”
After he learned about the organization, the show took on a greater significance for Mireles.
“Children are the most vulnerable people,” he says, “and they need all the help we can give. Organizations like these are so necessary because they make it easier to spread awareness and provide help to victims of abuse and exploitation.”
The show is at 9 p.m. July 19 at Three Links. Tickets are $7.