At The Traffic Lights

Maybe that was why she couldn't cry, she realised, staring dry-eyed at the ceiling. Because what was the point in crying when there was no one there to comfort you? And what was worse, when you couldn't even comfort yourself? - Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

This week, the news has swung between - well, I wish I could say the sublime and the ridiculous, but honestly?

It's been 99% idiocy, with the remaining 1% - the important part... made up of of pure, unadulterated misery.

I am not going to talk about the 99%. We all know what has made headlines; two grown men brawling in the street like puffed up pitbulls who are blind-eyed and blind-brained. Whilst in the background, the silent tears and screams of lost young girls halfway across the world continue to go largely unanswered by a government which doesn't quite know how to find them (despite somewhat 'pushed' heroic efforts of late), or how to answer a madman, who without compunction or fear of recrimination takes more girls.

Human trafficking is a reality. Girls being sold into slavery for use as prostitutes and 'wives' to religious extremists and paedophiles is a reality. In the US alone, according to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex. Forty percent of all human trafficking cases opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for the sexual trafficking of a child - and the majority of them are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. It is considered less risky - and more profitable - to sell girls than it is to sell hard drugs.

This is in a first world country.

In 2001, UNICEF estimated 1.75 million individuals were deemed to be living in 'sexual slavery' worldwide. In 2009, India's federal police estimated there were 1.9 million children (under the age of 12) working as prostitutes.

Now think of somewhere like Nigeria. Think of a man (if you can call him that) who boasts on camera of what he has done with over 200 young girls. Who openly says that women should not be educated. That their place is as wives. To be silent and to breed the next generation of fighters. To serve men.

To serve.

Who can make daughters, sisters, beloved girls - simply disappear.

It is impossible to imagine what those young women are going through - thankfully. For anyone who has been impacted by rape or abuse, they would have some idea of the terror and that is a hell in itself. I am thankful for the number of decent, amazing men from all religions and all countries who have stood up openly and said 'this is not right. No women, no girl - no child - should be treated this way.'

But will it stop what is happening? No. Because there is a demand for tears.

Imagine nobody being interested when you cry. Or worse -

Enjoying it.

Please continue to say 'this is not right.' Please continue to say 'you cannot treat human beings this way.' Say it loudly, say it publicly. Use social media for all it's worth. Sign the petitions to the UN. Say it to people who matter. Applaud the men in your life who are kind, and of worth, and who behave in private the way they behave in public. Don't underestimate what this means.

Maybe, just maybe, one day the human traffic lights will stop being green - and will finally stay on red.

Boko Haram will belong in the realm of Grimm. 250 Nigerian girls will get to come home.

And have their tears wiped away.