Does slavery still exist?
Sadly yes. Modern day slavery, better known as Human Trafficking, is more than likely happening in your state, in your city and it could even be happening in your neighborhood. According to Truckers Against Trafficking, human trafficking “is a $32 billion worldwide industry with more than 27 million people enslaved.“
Human Trafficking is defined as ”the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of persons by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploiting them.” Victims of human trafficking can be of any race, educational background, economic class, age, or gender. Regardless of the notion that human trafficking is a problem faced only by developing nations, in reality, it’s a worldwide practice that includes the United States. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime sector in the U.S. and unlike drugs and weapons that can be sold only once, a human being can be sold over and over.
What does ‘human trafficking’ involve?
Victims are often recruited by empty promises of a better life. There are numerous stories of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States thinking upon their arrival, they will be working in hotels, restaurants, or as nannies making enough money to send home to support their families. Once here, they are hidden away. They are held captive and being forced into servitude or prostitution. Not knowing how to speak English and being coerced with threats such as, ”if you try and escape, the police will not help you, they will arrest you” or “we know where your family lives and we will harm them” or being beaten and/or raped to the point that they are afraid to seek help.
Runaways are often recruited at bus stops and train stations. Young girls or boys with no where to go, no or little money, often hungry, in an unfamiliar place and scared can be spotted a mile away by a trafficker. Often the trafficker or ‘pimp’ will offer them a place to stay and food, acting as a friend. The victim has no idea they will soon be forced to re-pay the trafficker by being “pimped out.” Many victims have also been kidnapped or sold to traffickers by their own families (although the selling of family members is more common in regions outside of the U.S.).
How can you help?
If you ever suspect you are witnessing or suspect Human Trafficking please call: The National Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888.
There are many things to consider, take note of, and recognize when it comes to fighting the fight against trafficking. This article is the first in a series that will address human trafficking, beginning with a focus on trafficking in the U.S. and later covering the practice worldwide. In the next installment, I will be discussing how you can recognize a victim of trafficking and more ways that you can help. I hope that you will follow me on this journey and take the time to learn about something that is very important to me. I believe that every person deserves freedom! There is so much information about human trafficking available. One good place to discover some hard facts about trafficking and it’s impact on the world is this quick list from DoSomething.org.
Truckers Against Trafficking
One organization that is fighting with all their heart and soul is Truckers Against Trafficking. They are an awesome group that is helping to spread the word at truck stops and to highway travelers. Please watch the video below and take a glance into their hard work and the trafficking world which is hidden in plain sight.
Latest posts by Tara Prater Castillo (see all)
- Make a Difference: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is January 11th - January 10, 2012
- Sex Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery - August 5, 2011
- The Girl Effect: One Girl Can Change the World - June 29, 2011