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Bringing Awareness of Human Trafficking in the U.S.

You may be familiar with stories of human trafficking in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, or India. I recently attended a conference on human trafficking, and I was shocked to learn that this unimaginable crime is happening right where I live. Actually, human trafficking is happening in all 50 states! In the United States, human trafficking tends to occur around international travel hubs with large immigrant populations.

Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry where perpetrators profit from the control and exploitation of others. Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry worldwide.

Definition of Human Trafficking:

Human trafficking comes in two forms: Sex Slavery (forced prostitution, sex entertainment/pornography) and Labor Slavery (working long hours for little or no pay). Human trafficking is recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining a person for sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

A predator of sex trafficking, or pimp, uses force, fraud, and/or coercion to manipulate victims into being trafficked. A predator of sex trafficking is called a “John.” A John can be a business person, politician, farmer, or upper, lower or middle class people.

Each year about 17,500 individuals are brought into the U.S. and held against their will as victims of human trafficking, and more than 29 million people are living as slaves around the globe. There are between 100,000-300,000 children that are prostituted annually. Eighty-percent of trafficked persons are women and children. Men are more likely to be victims of forced labor, while women and children are often exploited in the sex industry.

Victims of trafficking often come from vulnerable populations, including migrants, the oppressed, and the poor.

 Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them the grasp of evil people. Psalm 82:3-4

Victims of trafficking may stay in their situation for the following reasons:

  • Confinement
  • Isolation
  • Physical abuse
  • Rape and gang rape
  • Threats of violence against victims and victim’s families
  • Forced drug use
  • Threat of shaming by revealing activities to family
  • Pictures on the internet

Signs of Trafficking:

  • Evidence of being controlled
  • Evidence of inability to move or leave job
  • Bruises or other signs of battering
  • Fear or depression
  • Lack of identification documentation

Methods predators use to control their victims:

  • Rape
  • Beatings
  • Confinement
  • False promises
  • False offers of employment
  • False documentation

Children and teenagers in the U.S. are kidnapped into this trade, or found by a “John” when they run away from home. Some of the pornography that is made is with these young children portraying themselves as older in the films. The Super Bowl is a huge day for sex trafficking; sex slaves are brought to the location of the Super Bowl to be bought for sex. Some of the items we love to buy were made by a child forced into slave labor. A few are brought into this country to work in hotel chains. Human trafficking is everywhere, and we should be aware of these atrocities.

One of the women at the human trafficking conference that I attended discussed how a young girl was being held by people in the sex trafficking industry right in her gated apartment complex! This woman got involved and called the proper authorities, and now the girl is being helped by a Christian ministry that specializes in human trafficking.

If you suspect human trafficking call the national hotline number:

Call: 1-888-3737-888

Text: BeFree (233733)

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce

 What else do we need to be made aware of regarding human trafficking? How can Christians respond to this injustice?

About Stephanie Reck

Stephanie has a heart and passion to see broken lives restored and redeemed through Jesus Christ. She writes through her personal experiences and her educational and professional background. She has over 17 years experience in counseling, and has a Master's degree in Social Work, Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Belief Therapist. Stephanie has been married for 16 years,and has one grown son. Stephanie's desire through her writings is to bring hope and encouragement to the body of Christ, that no matter what you have been though or going through, there is restoration and redemption through Jesus Christ.

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One comment

  1. I thought I had commented on this before… here is my comment again: This is an atrocity that needs much more attention than it’s getting. To imagine, living a life based on the whims of evil people and unable to escape. I pray right now for those involved in Human Trafficking, Lord open the eyes of those being swayed to support such activity, and we pray for freedom to those who are being held against their will. Father God drop the bonds that tie them to a life of servitude, in Christ’s Name I pray, amen.

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