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:
- 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:
- 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:
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?