What images come to your mind when you hear the words “Human Trafficking?” Do you see visions of other countries and child laborers being forced to work long hours for minimal or no pay?
What Is Human Trafficking?
People, adults, men, women and especially children are bought and sold. They are forced to work in deplorable conditions, often beaten and starved. They are migrants, factory workers and even forced into prostitution. They are children forced into the sex trade, bought and forced to do unimaginable acts for the most twisted and depraved individuals in society.
They are not only in other countries but right here in America. Human Trafficking is happening in our own neighborhoods and back yards. Human Trafficking is not something that happens just in other countries to other people. It is here and it affects all of us. We are all responsible to do something to help.
The United States is considered one of the top destination points for child trafficking and child slavery.
Who are the victims? There are populations who are especially vulnerable to being trafficked. They include, but are not limited to, the runaways and homeless youth, victims of abuse, illegal immigrants. Trafficking can and does occur in a broad range of socioeconomic classes. Anyone can become a victim, anyone…
Runaways, homeless youth and victims of trauma and abuse are especially targeted by pimps and sex traffickers who are skilled at manipulating child victims with coercion, lies, false affection and more.
Trafficking victims in the U.S. under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 include:
- Minors (under age 18) induced to perform commercial sex acts
- Those age 18 or over who are forced, deceived, or coerced into providing commercial sex acts
- Children and adults forced to perform labor and/or services in conditions of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, through force, fraud, or coercion
The statistics are mind numbing:
The 2012 Trafficking in Persons report is available for download as well as other informative documents at the Force4Compassion website
Is human trafficking happening within your community? Do you know the signs and what to look for? Would you be able to identify a potential victim of human trafficking?
Visit the Polaris Project here to read more on recognizing the signs and red flags that are possible indicators of trafficking.
Actress Mira Sorvino, the UN’s goodwill ambassador against human trafficking said, “Transnational organized crime groups are adding humans to their product lists. Satellites reveal the same routes moving them as arms and drugs.”
In the US, she added, “only 10 percent of police stations have any protocol to deal with trafficking.”
Worse, many outmoded laws punish the victims themselves. There are plenty of laws that fine and even jail prostitutes, and other laws that threaten to deport victims to the places from whence they came, but legislation to punish the traffickers is spotty and ill-conceived at best.
Stop by this excellent resource on human trafficking written by my friend Glendene Grant who has become one of the leading experts on human trafficking, Glendene is also Jessie’s mom. Jessie Foster went missing on March 29, 2006 and is a victim of human trafficking. Jessie vanished without a trace…Read more about Jessie Foster here
In 2006 Jessie Foster disappeared without a trace. Her mother, host Glendene Grant, advances human trafficking awareness & education with each episode, keeping hope alive for families.