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What is Human Trafficking?
When one hears the words ‘human trafficking,’ people often think of criminal organizations selling and shipping women and children out of the U.S. Although we are not wrong in thinking the previous thought is true, sadly that is just part of a much larger picture. According to The State.gov Policy Issues for Human Trafficking, trafficking in persons and modern slavery are umbrella terms that are used to refer to both sex trafficking and compelled labor.
In the article What is Modern Slavery we get a more in-depth look at exactly what falls under the umbrella of human trafficking as a whole, such as the following:
- Sex Trafficking- When a person is misled, forced, and/or threatened to engage in prostitution.
- Child Sex Trafficking- When anyone under the age of 18 is baited and forced to perform a commercial sex act.
- Forced Labor-The use of physical and psychological threats, dishonesty, and/or abuse of the legal process (migrants are targeted) to force people to work.
- Bonded Labor or Debt Bondage-The debt of a family member imposed on a person or the exploitation of an initial debt a person incurred
- Domestic Servitude-When a domestic worker (housekeeper, nanny, cook, and etc.) is not allowed to leave, not given a day off, is abused, not paid minimum wage and/or not paid at all.
- Forced Child Labor-Forced labor of children in the custody of non-family members for the financial benefit of persons outside of the children’s families.
- Unlawful Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers-Children recruited by force, deception, or coercion to be soldiers, porters, cooks, messengers or spies. Both boy and girl soldiers are sexually abused by the perpetrators (rebel groups, paramilitary organizations, and some government armed forces).
The above list breaks down the different areas of trafficking and what it in-tells.
Traffickers Lure Unsuspecting Victims into a Life of Modern Slavery
In episode 2 we talked about the face of homelessness in America. Sadly, among those persons are a large number of youths. There are a number of reasons those young people find themselves on the street. Some run away from abuse in the home or foster care placements. Whereas others are forced out onto the street because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or both.
Quite often those young people are targeted by human traffickers camped outside of homeless shelters. The traffickers lure the teens by offering food, shelter, and a job; then they are indebted and trapped into a life of slavery; when all they wanted was to have a meal, rest in a safe place, and make some money to live.
According to the June 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report in the U.S., a large number of child sex trafficking victims were in the foster care system at one time or another. Another method some traffickers often use is to place ads (modeling, dating, or acting) in the newspaper, magazines, and online–to lure innocent victims, such as in the case of two men in Miami.
In the NationalReview.com article, the men lured 50 women over a five-year span into sex trafficking by offering modeling jobs. Those young women obviously wanted careers in modeling but they were deceived. The women were drugged and raped. The criminals filmed the rapes and sold the videos to porn stores all over the country as well as the internet. The men were later charged for the crimes.
In the Fortune.com article, Human Trafficking Is an Epidemic in the U.S. It’s Also Big Business by Jaclyn Gallucci, we learned that the circumstances that cause youth to end up in susceptible situations also cause them to become adults who become prey to human traffickers.
Dr. Sharon Cooper, founder, and CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics called this a pipeline of vulnerability. And that pipeline also includes incarcerated women. According to the article, human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar business bringing in yearly profits of 150 billion dollars.
Human Trafficking in American Cities
In an interview with Fox News co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking, Geoff Rogers said that the U.S. is the No. 1 consumer of sex in the world. Sadly, every state in the U.S. has reports of trafficked persons; California, Florida, and Texas having the most reported cases according to Businessinsider.com.
In our episode on the homeless population, we learned that California has the highest rate of homelessness which corresponds with the reported cases of trafficked victims. Now because the sexual demand is so great, the largest source of sex slaves to America comes from Tlaxcala, Mexico.
So, when we look at the demand it explains why traffickers bring in 99 billion dollars a year from sexual exploitation per the International Labor Organization. Lady V suggests that people, especially women to be aware of your surroundings. She shares how as she was coming out of the supermarket, a man sitting in a vehicle with tinted windows parked near the entrance called out to her. He asked for a donation for an unknown organization. She said some traffickers could also use the pretense of asking for a donation to gain their target’s trust.
The question then becomes, “Have the many adults and children who are missing, been taken by traffickers to help in meeting the demand of the sex industry?” Lady V commends Walmart stores in our area for dedicating a board with the faces of missing persons.
Victims Hidden in Plain Sight
When looking at forced labor– victims are often hidden in plain sight working on farms (migrant workers are often targeted for farm work), domestic workers in private residences, or working in hotels as housekeepers, janitors, or cooks. The Americanbar.org reported that in Las Vegas, the staff of some casinos and hotels are often victims of labor trafficking because they are often not seen or looked over. As a result, casinos are a hotbed for trafficking activity.
In the article, Caesars Entertainment First Casino Operator to Join Global Initiatives to Combat Human Trafficking, Caesar’s took the lead in signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct also known as “The Code,” and therefore joining the International Tourism Partnership in the fight to end human and child trafficking.
Other big named companies also signed “The Code,” hotels such as Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton in addition to Delta airlines and rideshare company Uber. They provided training to their employees to spot and stop trafficking.
The article also brings to light that Japan is preparing to award only three commercial gaming licenses to operate in their country. Therefore, Caesars, MGM, Sands, and Wynn are presenting their best in order to impress the Japanese lawmakers. Because only the casinos that have high morals, clean nature and are greatly resp0nsible will be considered for one of the three licenses.
So, that is sure motivation to stop human trafficking from happening on their premises. Japan’s morality laws are keeping traffickers out, unlike China, South Korea, Taiwan, and India where currently around 46 million persons are held captive.
The Dangers at the Border
Cesar Millan the dog whisperer shared in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, about when he came to America and the dangers at the border. He said there were human traffickers at the border camped out waiting to bait (by promising safe passage) unsuspecting young people trying to get into America for a better life.
Through Cesar’s testimonial, we could agree that the traffickers use any means necessary to obtain their product, which is human life. The criminals take what money they have and then sell them into slavery for profit, of course.
Is One Life Worth More than Another?
The Nationalreview.com article gives a good description of what happens when Americans are outraged about the abuse of vulnerable persons. In 2013 two big named retailers had their clothing merchandise manufactured in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The upper four floors of the eight-story building were built illegally. The building was not built to support heavy factory machinery or the 5000 garment workers; therefore, it was not intended for factory use. Workers complained of cracks in the building but management ignored their concerns.
The next day the building collapsed killing over 1000 employees. It was the deadliest accident in modern human history due to structural failure. As a result, Americans were outraged and refused to shop at those retailers if they continued doing business in Bangladesh.
Americans refused to support an industry that didn’t care about the safety of its employees but all the while profiting off of their labor. One may think, ‘Still, what does that have to do with porn.’ Well, the life of a sexually exploited adult or child is just as important as those employees in Bangladesh working in dangerous conditions.
In fact, the pornographic industry exploits unsuspecting and naive victims. A popular porn magazine published one example of that exploitation. They did a multi-page lay-out of a young mentally handicapped woman. She was violently sexually abused while held prisoner. For seven years, her abusers photographed her performing hardcore sexual acts by her captors. The article, also shared that porn directly informs what happens to trafficked victims.
Working in the Pornographic Industry as a Means to Meet Basic Needs
In the video below, a single mother shares her story of how she found herself a part of the adult film industry. Her husband left her and therefore she had to take care of her kids. So, she did a few films just to make some quick money.
In fact, her intentions were not to make porn a career. But when she hit another financial rough patch, she agreed to do ‘one’ more film. But that time, the porn filmmaker wanted her to perform scenes with 25 male porn stars. She spoke of how she took drugs and alcohol to prepare herself for the scenes.
She said she passed out several times during the course of the filming which lasted for hours and hours. At the end of the filming, she wondered why the 25 men were holding her up and taking selfies with her.
They told her they answered an advertisement that read “Sleep with a porn star.” The 25 men were men off the street who answered the ad. She ended up in a hospital for two weeks. The porn filmmakers gave no thought to her health or her life. They just wanted the film.
To summarize this weeks discussion, we learned that:
- Human trafficking includes the moving of persons within a country as well as to other countries
- The different areas of modern slavery
- Victimizers lure some women into participating in pornographic films by offering much-needed money
- When women agree to perform in the films, the exploiters’ change promised terms and conditions
- Traffickers often hide victims in plain sight
- Captors force captives to work as domestic workers or farm workers for little to no pay
Join us for the continuation of this discussion on episode 4; Human Trafficking—The Need for Recovery Pt.2.
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