. Maybe you’ve heard this term before and don’t know what it means, or maybe you haven’t and you have no idea what I’m talking about. Either way, it’s time you found out. Be prepared for some horrifying facts.
What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons: by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Does this sound familiar? This, my friends, is modern day slavery.
Human trafficking is a problem that affects the entire world, including the United States. The United States is a principal transit location for sex trafficking. Although major cities are the most probable place for human trafficking, it happens in minor cities as well. I live in Massachusetts, about fifty miles outside of Boston, and I found out about a case not twenty miles from where I live. Currently, Atlanta, Georgia is the number one city for human trafficking in the US. The largest victims of human trafficking come from Asia. Southeast Asia trafficks about 225,000 victims each year and South Asia trafficks about 150,000 victims each year. Horrifying, right?
Ready for some stories?
This story is about a young girl name Asha. Asha was only nine when her father sold her to a procurer in a Bombay (India) brothel. She was told she would have new clothes, and that she would be working for a nice family who lived in a big house. But where she was taken was a strange place. "Where's the pretty house?" Asha asked shyly. There was no pretty house; just a small, damp room with a cold hard floor that Asha was locked in.
A woman unlocked the door and came in to put makeup on Asha's face. The woman then opened the door and allowed in a man. Asha was told she would have to do sexual favors for him. She didn't want to, so she fought. Another man came in, beat her with a belt, and continued beating her for several days. They gave her no food. Weakened, Asha decided it was useless to resist. She serviced her first "client" and continued to do so for the next seven years.
After seven years of doing this she met a man named Devaraj. Devaraj was different than the other men she had known. She met him at a small church near Falkland Road. There he taught messages of hope that lifted her spirits. He talked of freedom. She visited there as often as she could.
Deveraj helped Asha leave the brothel that had been her home since she was a young girl and moved her into a “Home of Hope.” Now she is learning how to live. She is learning a new trade. And thanks to people who care, Asha’s life is no longer surrounded by pain and disappointment. It is full of hope and optimism for the future.
This story does have a happy ending. However, there are millions more stories like this one that do not have a happy ending.
If you’re wanting something that may be a bit closer to home, the next one’s for you.
Three years ago, two teenage cousins, Kimberly and Carol (names have been changed), set off for a 15-minute walk to get milkshakes. During the walk, the skies became dark and it started to rain. At that moment, a familiar face pulled up beside the cousins in a white Lincoln. At the time, Kimberly believed the man in the passenger seat was a classmate's father who she knew as Mike. Shortly afterwards, Kimberly noticed that the man was not who she thought. He forced the girls into a brick house just miles across town from their home.
Inside the house, the two girls found out that the once-friendly man who offered to give them a ride was actually a violent pimp named Deric. During the next 24 hours the girls were fitted for , assigned fake names (Ambrosia and Heavenly), and taught the rules of prostituting. They threatened to hurt the other cousin if they didn’t cooperate.
During the day, the girls were locked in a home and at night they were forced to have sex with men for money in Toledo motels. They earned up to $500 a "date," all of which went to their pimp.
This story also has a somber-sweet ending. Both girls are scarred emotionally, physically, and mentally. However, they were rescued, which is more than I can say for the majority of human trafficking victims.
My final piece here is how YOU can help. The most important thing you can do is be aware and prevent it from happening. can pretend to be talent scouts for some agency and either get you to follow them, or make an appointment with them later. Never get in car with a stranger, especially a male. Follow basic safety advice. Don’t walk alone in medium to large city, even if it’s daytime.
The second thing you can do is raise awareness. I’m fairly certain that most of your friends or classmates don’t know a thing about this MAJOR issue, and they should be. The more people who are aware of this issue, the less likely it will occur.
The third way you can help is through benefits and clubs. Look online for organizations fighting human trafficking and hold a benefit concert where the proceeds go to that organization. While you’re at it, hand out materials telling people about this problem.
Now for some numbers and facts:
· As many as 27 million people are victims of human trafficking, At the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, 80,000 people were sold each year.
· After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and is the fastest growing.
· The average cost of a slave around the world in $90.
· More than 2/3 of sex trafficked children suffer additional abuse at the hands of their traffickers.
· The average age of entry for girls and boys ranges from 11-15.
· The International Organization for Migration estimates that each year 500,000 women are sold (trafficked) to local prostitution markets in Europe.Sources: