I want to preface this article with a warning. This subject matter is intense. I believe I handle it in a way that will let you know what you need to keep your family safe without sharing the gruesome details. After all, it took me more than 100 articles before I tackled this subject.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. You may have seen the term human trafficking on the news or in your feed but just weren’t sure what it was. You may have wondered if it was a polite way of talking about prostitution. There is nothing ‘polite’ about this at all.
Plain and simple, the phrase ‘human trafficking’ is a politically correct term for modern day slavery. Yes, slavery. That thing our country banned more than 100 years ago. Slavery is alive and well in the “Land of the Free.”
People are trafficked for labor or to become child soldiers, but the most horrific category for modern day slavery is the sex trade. People are taken from their homes and forced by organized groups into becoming prostitutes against their will. This happens all over the world and in your community.
Who Are the Victims?
You may think that only women are trafficked or just poor women in other countries. The victims of human trafficking are as unique as you and me. Because people like us are trafficked every day. The hard fact is that the victims are male, female, young, old, middle class, poor, foreigners and Americans. Some victims are toddlers.
Let that sink in. There are children in the world who will never know a normal life because they were taken and forced to be a sex object. Some kids won’t know what it’s like to have a birthday cake or play in the backyard. The only existence they’ll know is how to perform so they can get money for their pimp and not get abused when they get “home.”
Traffickers use violence, debt, lies and threats to coerce adults and children into commercial sex. Not all victims are stolen from their families, many run away or voluntary leave because a trafficker offers a false sense of love or security. It is only after they are taken that they can realize what has happened to them. Then the trafficker tricks victims into staying under the threat of violence toward them or their family.
Economics of Human Trafficking
According to the International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation the official estimate for trafficked persons world wide is 24.9 million. That’s a 4 million person increase from 2012. Globally, human trafficking generates an estimated $32 billion dollars a year. It’s the third highest crime industry behind drugs and weapon trafficking.
This problem isn’t going away, it’s getting worse.
Why is it that millions of people around the world are trafficked? What makes people want to enslave other people? Why are kids taken and sold for sex in the United States? It’s the simple law of economics that perpetuates this vile industry; supply and demand.
There are 2 and 3 year-olds being used for sex in the United States because there is a demand for it. Yes, there is a demand for sex with toddlers in our country. The demand can come in the form of prostitution or pornography. While this seems grotesque to you and me, we can’t ignore this problem. We as Americans need to wake up and realize what’s going in our communities.
What Do We Do Now?
The first thing we can do to combat human trafficking is guard our families. We start by making sure our children are safe. We keep them from running away by showing empathy and love. We keep them safe by knowing who their friends are, where they’re going and monitoring their online activity. If we can eliminate our family as victims, we win part of the battle.
Second we need to decrease the demand for paid sex in this country. We can push lawmakers for greater penalties for those who are caught in solicitation. We can continue social pressure against those who thinking nothing of paying for sex. And we can educate our friends and families as to the dangers of human trafficking.
If you want to help victims of human trafficking consider donating to groups who care for those who get out like Lighthouse for Life. To get involved in your community, you can search The National Human Trafficking Hotline for a place near you where you can become involved. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign aims to end trafficking and is a great resource for education and training.
Wear blue on January 11th to support the end of human trafficking. For more information on how to make your family safer, consider updates from The Secure Dad Newsletter.
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